A closet singer

I had been singing in a choir for almost two years when I moved back home, a church choir. These are two things I never would have predicted being a true about me. Growing up church was not a part of my experience. No one in the house went to church and religion was not something we spent any measurable amount of time believing in. Yet my dad held and a gifted to me a deep sense of spirituality. It was this foundation that afforded my the open mind to visit a progressive united church and fall in to the community and questioning provided.

I confided once in my friend and fellow church goer that I had a desire to sing in the choir. I had no training, experience or back ground in such things. I simply longed to sing. And so she held me to my words and picked me up for choir practice.

Growing up with my dad, I heard him belt out many a tune. Not just singing, the man would own the tune and sing it with vibrato, any chance he got, the national anthem, Christmas carols, a good tune on the radio. When I knew I was moving back home I put out the challenge to him, “I’ll join the Knox United choir if you do.” He accepted and I wept my way through Wednesday night practices and Sunday sermons with my dad just a few seats away. Somehow the sacred space, the words, his courage would all gather in my tear ducts every time, fueled by a knowing of how rare and fleeting this would be.

After the first rehearsal, as I drove us both home, he said “I think I’ve been a closet singer my whole life.” It was muttered almost fully under his breath but I caught it and just as quietly agreed. Sitting both of us eyes forward in the car made it easier for this new level of sharing. This place where reflections of a life running out could fall without their full intensity.

It was an inspiration to me, that even now, sicker then he had ever known, he was still stepping up to the challenge of doing something brand new and wildly outside of his comfort zone. Each year as I smile at this memory I am reminded not to hide any of my passions, or hopes or dreams inside a closet but instead to sing them out loud and now even when faced with huge obstacles.

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