by Kathye Hamm
For the past 9 months or so I have been dealing with persistent laryngitis. It started with my spring allergies and never went away. After traversing the adventure of the healthcare system, I only recently got in to see an ENT, so now I have a diagnosis, a treatment plan, and that hope that all will be cleared up soon.
The challenge for me has been that I just don’t sound like myself. Some days my voice is very hoarse (I do a killer Elmer Fudd impersonation), and others it is just a bit raspy. The hardest part has been in worship. Whether I am in a leadership role, or a member of the worshiping community, I haven’t been able to sing. Some days I try – but in a lower register than usual – and then later that day or the next day ‘pay the price’ with an even raspier voice.
It has been a profoundly dislocating experience. I have sung my whole life and in the past months I have discovered that not being able to sing has affected my experience of worship, and my ability to ‘be’ in the service. At the beginning I fought against the limitation and just sang anyway – or tried to – only to be seriously frustrated and even angry. At some point, through intention, deep breathing, and the help of my spiritual director, I stopped trying to sing – and I let the words and the music wash over me. I learned to experience worship music in a new way – to participate in those parts of the service in a new way.
How often do we let an experience that is difficult or frustrating control us and just disconnect or walk away? What would it mean for us if we could learn to let the experience wash over us and lean into the ways that we can participate and be part of the experience? It may not be how we would like it to be – difference can be hard, but it can also open to us new ways of experiencing even the familiar.
May God’s grace wash over you this week and lead you into places where you can lean into new things, and into familiar things in new ways.
March 31, 2020
March 24, 2020
March 10, 2020