I wrote a while back in this blog about the experience of becoming involved with the Community Singers, a group of people who sing at nursing homes and retirement centers around the island.
The singers have had several engagements over the last week or so -- yesterday's, in particular, was very well attended -- and so their music is (perhaps unfortunately) getting stuck in my head, as music has a way of doing. Today the song in my head is John Denver's Country Roads, which is, I suspect, why this image leaped off the page: not that it's exactly a "country road," but it's a ferry, which means it's taking me "to the place I belong."
I say "perhaps unfortunately" because much of what we do is folk music from the 60's and 70's, which is not my favorite music, but seems to work well for these audiences. So why do I love singing with these folks so much if it's not my favorite music? Because the joy of singing and the joy of bringing smiles to the faces of our patients more than compensates for the caliber of music we provide.
If part of my job during Lent is to release some of my perfectionist tendencies, I can't think of a better way to practice -- because what I experience, despite the imperfection of our performances, is a total outpouring of love. It's kind of like asking a mother why she changes her baby's diapers: we do this for love, and that sense of giving and receiving far outweighs any mild distaste we might have for the tasks involved.
... and there are universal truths contained in these songs, whether I like them or not. When I see these lines on the floor of the ferry, I know I'm on my way somewhere, either off to someplace fun, or home to my island -- the place where I belong. And isn't there something in all of us that wants to say, "take me home to the place I belong?" So what if it isn't West Virginia? So what if the best road to get there may not have the charm of a country road? We still -- all of us -- long to figure out where it is that we belong, and go there.
Which means we might already be out there looking for signposts, right? And it seems like love, that sense of blessing we get when we take on something to feed another soul along the way, is one of the best signposts there is.