I don’t know if I told you guys this, but I joined the bell choir at church. If you are unfamiliar with the term “bell choir”, it’s a choir made up of people ringing hand bells to play a musical score. Each person has 2-4 bells which they ring when their notes come up in the piece.
I can hear you now. “Sue? The bell choir? You do know you can’t use colorful metaphors when you play the wrong notes, right? What were you thinking?” It was a weak moment. I was tired and emotional (long story but the majority can be blamed on hormones) when the ring leader approached me (“ring leader”…get it? Hahahahaaaaa! I kill me.) one morning after church. She had an opening in the choir and remembered that I had played a few years ago as a mentor in the confirmation class and thought I would be a good fit.
A lot of factors played into my “yes” answer, besides hormones. First of all, this was the second time she asked me – the first time being about a year ago and at that time I felt too committed (or maybe just needed TO BE committed. You know, to the looney bin) to other things so I said no. Plus I figured this would give her a chance to come to her senses and find someone who might actually know what they were doing. Apparently, “coming to her senses” wore off after a year. Or maybe she was desperate. People will do a lot of unreasonable things when they are desperate. Like asking nonmusical people to play in the bell choir. Or accepting said bell choir offer.
Second, I kinda felt it was something God wanted me to do. This has been a rough year for a lot of reasons (sadly, not all to be blamed on hormones), and my mind likes to play the Circle Game. This is not a fun game. It’s exhausting and frustrating and sometimes it makes me cry. And yet, every time my mind suggests it, I’m all “Sure! That sounds like fun! What issue are we going to obsess about nonstop today? My Life Is Going Nowhere? Great! We haven’t done that one since yesterday!” Playing in the bell choir gave me something to concentrate on that I actually had control over. Plus God was shoving me (rather firmly) from behind.
And finally – I love being the center of attention. Shocking, I know. I have always wished I had a choir appropriate voice. I have spent many a lost youthful hour belting out John Denver and Tony DeFranco songs in my trusty tape recorder, only to play them back in abject horror.
Still, I practice in the car every once in a while, to see if anything has improved. Sadly, it has not. Dave still cranks up the radio to drown me out and my kids yell, “Oh my God, Mom. Stop. STOP! STAAAAHP.”
Playing in the bell choir allows me to live the dream. I get to say things now like, “I’m sorry, I can’t attend. I have choir practice.” “Oh sure, I’ll come over, right after choir practice.” “I have to be careful with my
voice hands. I’m in the choir, you know.” So now I get to be part of a choir, practice is only once a week and I get to create pretty music with a bunch of really nice (and patient) folks. Everyone’s a winner.
Except, of course, for anyone listening, because Hello! – I can’t read music. When I played with the confirmation group, she had all of our notes color coded so it wasn’t very difficult for us to follow. When I saw a pink or green highlighted note, I rang my bell. Easy Peasy, Lemon Squeesy.
There is no color coding in the adult bell choir. No conductor counting the measures out loud and pointing briskly at me when it’s my turn. I have to learn to read music, people. REAL MUSIC. And it’s seriously cutting into my obsessing time. My own kids don’t recognize me. “Who’s that lady over there humming at the kitchen table?” “I dunno. Mom?” “It’s not mom, you dork. If it was mom, our ears would be bleeding.” “I’m not a dork. You’re a dork.” “No, you’re a dork.” “No, YOU’RE a dork!” “DORK!” “DOUBLE DORK!!”
So far, I have had about 5 practices and played in 4 services. And I screwed up in every single one, without a single colorful metaphor escaping my lips. Now that’s progress, people. The rest of you will just have to worry about the world going to hell in a handbasket without me. I’ll be over here, highlighting my notes.
Until next time,
PS. Cake was not involved in any of the bell choir practices or services. I have a note in to management.