I love to sing…… Love. It.
I’m not really all that great at it. In fact, I’m pretty bad. It’s a fact I’m pretty comfortable with by now. I’ve been told it’s bad by several well-respected people in my life. When I was in the 7th grade choir, the director pulled me aside one afternoon and suggested that I might want to join the band.
“I’m that bad?” I asked.
“You sing like a dying frog.” He answered. We struck a deal. I could stay in the choir class and fill out the group in concerts if I would only promise to not sing out loud. I was a “mouth singer” only. I shrugged my shoulders and didn’t care. I got to stay in the choir with my friends and I got an ‘A’ because I never sang in class again.
By the time I went to Catholic school in the 10th grade, I was lip syncing my way through Mass. I had seen the cringe of those around me on Sunday mornings, and I wasn’t risking my high school coolness by screeching my way through the hymns I loved.
One day, Sr Agnes Marie (old hook-nose herself) pulled me aside after Mass. I was a nice girl and knew the Mass. I actually prayed which was more than many of my classmates would do. Why wouldn’t I sing? I told her simply that I sound like a dying frog when I sing. I’m not sure what happens to my normal speaking voice once it is set to music, but it’s not pretty.
She raised her eyebrows and tried not to laugh. (She was a full-habit-to-the- floor wearing nun, so no funny business there.) “People with beautiful voices should sing out loud,” she told me. “but you should sing louder. If you offend the ear of God enough, He might take mercy on us all and change it for you, He is merciful after all. If God, who is the author of all Creation, can see beauty in the face of a warthog, surely He can find the loveliness in the effort that you make.”
So, that’s why I sing out loud at Mass and don’t care one whit who can hear me. I realized long ago that there are people in this world whose voices show the beauty and wonder of our God. They sing and the angels sing with them. Then there’s me, the warthog face singer. I sing and all of creation marvels at his benevolence. He hasn’t struck me mute yet. He truly is a kind and tolerant God, and you can hear it when I sing.