Sunday, September 30, 2012

On Not Singing

Ever since my neck surgery last December (wow, nine months already!) I have been unable to sing like I used to. Not that I was ever a really good singer, but I could hit the notes, carry the tune, and enjoy myself. I sang in church choirs, in my HS glee club, in my car, the shower, etc. But since surgery, it isn't happening.

My voice is now strained. My range has been greatly reduced. I can't keep the pitch. All this has certainly caused me frustrations. Mostly in two places.

First is in the car. I like to sing along with my favorite songs. I'm not bothering anybody and it is fun. Belting out a song with the Beatles or Beach Boys is a great form of relaxation. But it ain't happening like it used to. My voice cracks and I end up jumping all over the scale just to stay in some semblance of in tune.

The other place I miss my singing is in church. To mumble hymns, or try to sing them in some way that makes sense has been part of my worship experience since I was in high school. To add my voice to the congregation's voices is uplifting, inspiring and amazingly empowering. I am not a spectator, I am part of the witness. In the past nine months, though, I find myself having difficulty feeling like I am adding my voice at all. I drop the volume so I can hardly even hear myself so the people in front of me don't cringe at the sound.

I have a friend who has never been a singer and he always said it was enjoyable to him to just listen to the congregational singing. To allow the words to flow over him and to pay attention to the meaning. I have a hard time doing that without singing. My soul is musical, I know that. It wants to make music.

But perhaps it has become time for me to rely on the community- the worshiping congregation- to do this for me. Perhaps the time has come for me to listen as well as sing. Perhaps the time has come to relax and just be in worship.

At least I can still play my trumpet and support the worship that way.  But as for singing, maybe it will come back. Maybe the muscles and stuff in my neck will return to their singing pre-surgery norm. But if not, so it goes. There may be a still, small voice waiting to talk to me if only I wouldn't make so much noise.

No comments: