I Picked the Right Profession

One of the only things we know for certain about heaven is that it will be full of sung worship. So let me just say, I picked the right profession.

These Snotty Nose, Baby Talk, Mushy Food Days have left me missing music a lot lately. Missing it so much it aches. I wouldn’t trade what I’m doing for anything because I love it so much and with it comes a peaceful awareness of faithfulness where God has me. Knowing yourself loyal is the best kind of fulfillment. But part of me is lying dormant and sometimes I get this twinge and realize just how dormant it is, and how alive it used to be.

It’s nice to be married to someone of my same profession and it’s nice to be singing once a week with an amateur chorus. Singing good, good stuff like the 2001 Son of God Mass written by James Whitbourn. I think it keeps that musician part of me just dormant instead of dead and decaying.

This morning I went in search of some piano therapy, sometimes the only kind of therapy that does me any good, and sat playing from the 1982 Lutheran Worship. What brilliant editor decided to include a section of the hymnal called “The Church Triumphant” and why don’t more hymnal committees think about this?

I, for one, think about this ALL. THE. TIME. It’s where I am right now and every fiber of me wells up with longing for it. It’s pretty much the only thing capable of conjuring up tears in me lately. It’s not so much that I want heaven, it’s that I want The Church Triumphant. I’m not in it for me, I guess, except that The Church is the only place I feel alive (Psalm 42). What I want out of heaven is not a place for ME, where everything in MY world will be just right. It’s that I want a place where The Church will be just right. Where worship will be all glorious, no muck.

Because that’s my profession, as well as my soul.

It’s ironic. Back when the musician in me was active, not dormant, I was afflicted with a nagging depression because the music was never what it should have been. Because I’d never be capable of achieving enough beauty. That was part of what made my college days less than happy and part of why I’ve felt almost relieved, and a lot more emotionally stable, since I shifted my focus to Wife-and-Mommy-ing.

My angst-ridden identity as a musician found the missing piece of its puzzle this morning. As I played “Jesus, in mercy bring us to that dear land of rest,” it dawned on me: It doesn’t matter if I never compose what I want to or have my own ego choir that can tune higher tertian sonorities so they shimmer. What’s more, that dormant part of me, the church musician, isn’t doomed to decay even if I never manage to revive it this side of Jordan as I hope to.

Because one of these days we are all going to be worshiping and it will be glorious. Then I will have my work cut out for me.

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6 thoughts on “I Picked the Right Profession

  1. Just curious why you’re not listening to that part of you that’s yearning to professionally the use the skills God has given you. You clearly find joy in it, and you could certainly find a part time church job that would be flexible enough to continue with the caretaking of Jacob. I have found in my own life that sometimes the things we yearn for aren’t what God wants for us, but if that yearning is deep enough and clear enough (and sometimes it has to hit you over the head like a ton of bricks), and part of us feels incomplete without it, then maybe that is what God is intending. God equips us for what God has in mind for us, I think.

    1. This is near and dear to my heart and something I could write a book about – about my reasons/thoughts/beliefs and about the journey I’ve taken to get there and the journey my life is taking and how I see music weaving into it. So I’m going to blog about it. But since I’m not going to hit this in the blog I’m thinking up, I’ll say here that I am involved to some degree in music right now and enjoying it just as much as I want to–right now. And I have aspirations (to call them plans feels a little presumptuous and naive right now) to go to grad school for choral conducting once our kids are in their teens, or sometime when it will work for our family. One of the reasons I love Mike is that he doesn’t want me to let music go, because he sees (even before I did) that I can’t be me without it. It was his encouragement that brought me last fall to envision grad school for the first time after burning out and calling it quits in college. If that dream/plan of ours ever comes to fruition, well, we’ll just have to see. Meanwhile, the music I’m doing now is something very important to me: composing for “the average church choir,” mostly kid stuff, but have some sketches of adult choir stuff which I need to get down to work on. I hope to do that on the side always. Having a church job of my own wouldn’t really satisfy what’s missing, because it’s not really organ or “gigs” that I miss. It’s being a professional, an expert, the top of my game. So no amount of doing it on the side would satisfy that desire. In fact, I don’t think anything is really going to ever satisfy that desire in me. I’ve seen over the years that it is really something that I can’t quench no matter how deep into it I get. The deeper I get the more angsty I get because it’s not “good enough.” It’s just the crazy artist in me. Well, that pretty much answers your question on one level, but there’s another level to it which is more truly the answer for why I don’t pursue music any more than I do right now, and I’m going to see if I can’t turn that into an essay. So here goes…

      1. That makes sense. I just see so much potential in you and know that God has great plans to use your gifts. I can admire the patience it takes to wait and see–that’s something I lack! As for composing, I hope you’ll keep working on that and maybe one day the choirs at my parish will be singing Susan Powell arrangements.

        Just remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect. It will never be perfect. But to God, all praise is as incense and God doesn’t ask for perfect servants, just faithful ones.

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