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Sunday, April 5, 2009

Palm Sunday

A few weeks ago my daughter asked me if I'd sing with her and my oldest granddaughter in their Easter Cantata. Other than standing alongside the congregation, I haven't sung in church in several years. She acted as though it was important to her, so like any mom would, I said yes. Not that I regret it, but I'm worn out!

Her church is a forty-five minute drive from my house. Apparently they had already had one practice before I got involved in it. I missed another one that was scheduled the same night I had tickets for LaComedia to see 'Camelot'. I made all the rest of the practices. That was tough, but I got to see a little more of the grandbabies (although three aren't babies anymore.)

Anyone that knows me well knows I am definitely not a morning person! Getting up at eight is for special occasions. I vow to try and make a habit of getting up earlier before the hot weather arrives. We'll see...

I usually get up between nine and ten in the morning. Yesterday's full rehearsal with the orchestra was scheduled for ten! Great if I lived around the corner. But, as I said, I do on occasion get up at eight. So I set my alarm and left the house by nine, arriving fifteen minutes early. This morning was much tougher!

Like my home church, Jen's church has two services. We were singing at both. Their first service starts at eight-thirty! What? Are you kidding me? I had to set my alarm for six! Did you know it is dark at six? Well, it is! Really dark. I had to turn on lights to walk around my bedroom! Sunday is supposed to be a day of rest. Now I know why some churches set aside Saturday as their Sabbath... Gotta get up too early on Sunday.

I got up. It wasn't fun, but I did it. After slamming down an Atkins' protein shake, I headed to town for a bottle of Frappuccino. (I know... makes no sense to me either.) Thank goodness the sun was up before the long drive or I don't think I would have made it. The Frappuccino should have been an espresso. Or better yet, battery acid! I stayed awake for the drive... always a good thing. I was halfway to Middletown before I even thought of turning on the practice CD. I really don't need it. I hear these songs in my head now.

I arrived at the church at about eight-fifteen, and was surprised to find quite a lot of cars already there. Seems most of the choir and orchestra arrived by eight and the choir had already warmed up. Oh well.

Hubby listened to the last minute instructions on how to work the video on my camera. My daughter and my granddaughter both had solo numbers. Nanas are supposed to carry cameras for all occasions, and this morning would not be an exception. When my granddaughter is a huge star and the paparazzi want to know her roots in music, I will have all the archives they need. (I have a video of her 'performing' for me when she was four.)

After leaving my jacket and camera in good hands, I found my way down to the room where the choir gathers before the service and breathed a sigh of relief that: 1 - I was awake, and 2 - it would soon be all over and my life could go back to being just busy.

I don't have stage fright in a group, so my only fear was that I had chosen the wrong footwear. My step-daughter has narrow feet and I don't. Wanting something comfy with open-toes since I would be standing for so long, I chose to wear a pair of leather sandals that she had given me a long time ago. I reasoned that the leather strap across my foot would stretch rather than stop the circulation of blood to my feet. Thank goodness I was right on that one!

The music in this cantata was wonderful. I loved every song... Maybe not in the beginning, but they grew on me. I even learned some Latin! Right on cue, as my daughter and her pastor approached the mikes for their duet, Hubby lifted the camera, balancing granddaughter-number-four on his knee all the while. Everything went as rehearsed, except for one tiny timing problem in a piece that went smooth as silk in all the rehearsals. Typical.

After their first service, (since it starts so incredibly early), they have a long break before the second service. Once outside the sanctuary, I spied the usually set up of coffee and cookies. Did I mention I have a tremendous sweet tooth? I can't pass up a cookie jar, never mind an entire table full! While munching on a delightfully crisp lime thing, I was reminded of the choir breakfast. A nice lady makes breakfast for the choir for every cantata. I headed to the multi-purpose room down the hall and took my place in line. It was finally time for me to be awake, but I seldom eat this early in the morning. There was every kind of breakfast casserole you ever heard of, fresh fruit, and juice. Despite my pleas of "just a little bit," these dear souls filled my styrofoam plate with love. And I ate it.

After breakfast there was a little time before we had to sing again. I thought it best to get some fresh air and walk a bit. As delicious as every thing had been, it sat very heavy in my stomach. After all, I was still full of protein shake and Frappuccino! Now I had to stand and sing for another hour plus! And now I had a second thing to fear...

I exited the church and headed through the parking lot to my car. I keep a tin of curiously strong mints in it. Mint is a naturally stomach medicine and I could have OD'd on them! At least my feet felt fine.

Once again, I made my way down to the 'waiting' room. I worried about the big breakfast. I checked the time. Taking in a deep breath, I promised myself I'd be fine. And I was...

Once we started up the circular stairway to the choir area, I forgot all about the breakfast. My heart was once again in tune with the reason we were there. As we lifted our voices in celebration of our Lord and Savior, I surveyed the congregation. Their expressions showed the impact of the music. I think God was pleased, too.

Let us not let this day pass without thinking of what Jesus was going through on that Palm Sunday. He knew His fate was very close at hand. He knew He would not leave this town the way He arrived. There would be no beast of burden to carry Him. There would be no palm branches lining His path. He was to carry the burden... The burden of the cross. The burden of our sins. The burden of the entire world. And He succeeded. Thank you, Jesus.

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