Friday, September 29, 2006

what's your story for the weekend?

It's Friday afternoon, and an exchange of emails has me thinking in particular ways about the stories we tell ourselves. This weekend, my own stories will be musical. I'll be listening to my son's jazz band, and to a concert performed in part by a singer I first met when she was about ten years old.

Sarah began by helping her mom and I lead the singing for our church school. Margaret and I were not musically accomplished but we had the one most important quality in church school music leaders: we believed the music could be fun and bring the kids closer to each other and closer to God. We believed this in the absence of any evidence or any particular talent. Sarah went to a Christian school and knew good songs to sing, so she helped us lead.

At the time, I did not think of Sarah as a singer - I knew she competed as a Scottish dancer. One thing led to another, and Sarah dreamed her dreams and graduated in music theatre and played a lead role on Broadway (and in Toronto, until the show she was in closed early). Sometimes she comes back to church and sings to bring us closer to God - with her voice and with her story. Tomorrow evening she will sing, and soon she will move to London to try her luck in music theatre there.

My son listens to jazz greats and punk/alternative/ska bands. He plays saxophone and acts and wants to study chemistry, he thinks. He moves without effort or irony between the past and the future, relaxed and ready.

When I move the camera a little, the focus shifts from their stories to my story. And I notice how passion and belief leak from the corners of boxes and spread themselves improbably in the world. I notice that I am now just one degree away from singing on Broadway, and it's not even a big degree. I have had my place in the choir next to someone whose voice soars and inspires. I have communicated a love for freedom within form, so that my son can improvise in a way that would have terrified me. My story has spread out without wearing thin.

Hold something you love within your story this weekend. You never know who will pick up a thread of your story and weave it into something wonderful.

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