Tonight my heart lies heavy with the news from Connecticut.
Originally I had planned to make this chained post about worn out high notes and music heard in banks that still melts my heart, or the secret holiday music loves I play even in July. I had six songs in mind, and some rough ideas.
Then my friend Leigh Ann walked into the room, such a look on her face - not horror, not shock, not despair, but of weight. "Twenty-eight," she said, "twenty-eight."
Though I grew up in a fairly religiously educational home, I somehow missed the story of the Holy Innocents until I was about seven. I have a feeling that it was in a documentary, because I have flashes of seeing a Renaissance-y painting of the destruction and the pure implications just terrifying me. My well-intentioned parents' attempts to explain the whole matter only accentuated my feelings of guilt that so much death had to take place to save our souls.
"Coventry Carol" doesn't get programmed much, at least, not within the sacred music circles in which I have sung and worshiped, but somehow I've committed it to memory. I think that Annie Lennox comes closest to expressing the horror, the shock, the magnitude of the loss to the boys who had to die for a king's rage and fear. (Verse two)
I've tried to go about the business of Advent II this evening - I ran out to get milk, leafed through today's blue books, picked up a few gifts, started in on Christmas cards - but Lennox's voice rang in my ears for hours. That painting sprang back into my head again.
Tomorrow I will go to a two hour long choir practice - the director has already promised us that it will be grueling - and I think I need it. My heart is too full and my head too weary for much music of any sort tonight.
That's one of the great spiritual gifts to me about being in a choir at this time of year. It's so easy for me to get caught up in cards and final exams and Christmas shopping and - and - and
Having to spend hours each week preparing for sacred services, hours around people I love and enjoy, in a place that makes my heart leap, it's one of the greatest moments of grounding I could ask, and that will come form the reminders, be it the Latin I struggle to pronounce or the descant I know as well as I know my own name. I love secular holiday music too, but the moment when candles are lit in the darkness and voices break though - glorious.
The rest of the chain includes:
Cranky at It’s My Blog!
Dr. Geek at Dr. Geek’s Laboratory
Lemming at Lemming’s Progress
Readersguide at Reader’s Guide to…
Freshhell at Life in Scribbletown
edj3 at kitties kitties kitties
My Kids’ Mom at Pook and Bug
joyhowie at The Crooked Line
Magpie at Magpie Musing
and back to Harriet for a wrap-up at spynotes