Thankful for the Ordinary

I love to sing.  It is something most people learn about me very quickly.  So, when I moved to Boston in August, I immediately looked for a musical outlet.  To my delight I found the Harvard Radcliffe Chorus, auditioned and am now a proud member.  The Chorus meets on Monday nights for three hours.  That’s three hours after a long day at work, serving an ex-offender population.  Needless to say, I am usually pretty tired by the time I reach Lowell Hall on Harvard’s campus.

But, a couple of weeks ago our chorus director paused his normal “sopranos and basses from measure 56…elongate the vowels…raise your soft palette…counter point, counter point, counter point (we are singing Bach’s Christmas Oratorio).” He stopped mid sentence and laid down his baton.  With great conviction, he said, “The way you know a great musician from a mediocre one is not in the climaxes of songs, but rather in how they handle the transitions.  That’s where real musicianship shines.”  First of all that is so true of music; the most deft singers skillfully link musical phrases so that what reaches your ear is a story-a narrative-, not, say, 56 measures/chunks. But I heard an even greater message in his words, as I think many of my fellow chorus members did as well.  The message I heard was central to what we as Life Together fellows have been engaged in since we arrived at 40P:  how will we view the “everydayness” of life?  What will we choose to see and be thankful for? How will we link the elements/phrases of our lives together?  Will we see life as a list of events, geographical moves and days gone by on a calendar, or will we shape them into a narrative that speaks of the glory, wonder and love of God.

The Walk to St. Mary's Street MBTA Stop
The Walk to St. Mary's Street MBTA Stop

I have found that the sweetness of knowing Jesus has come in those small moments of life when I look up at the vivid colors of leaves on the trees and am thankful for the beauty or when a trip to the grocery store with a housemate revealed God’s abundant provision or when sharing a tiny tangerine with a friend (being grateful that I have a tangerine and a friend to share it with).  It’s these moments that hold together all the other bigger, more “significant” moments, but without them life is just a clunky song.  My time in Life Together has already transformed the way I look at the ordinary as holy; how an everyday encounter can turn into a sermon for life.

Even though a three hour rehearsal after a long day at work is still…a three hour rehearsal after a long day at work, my heart is postured a little differently now and that makes all the difference.

By Amy Jones, 2011-12 Micah Fellow at BWA