I'm feeling refreshed. A nice long sleep in my own bed. It was getting pretty bad. On the last night, as I was writing my blog entry, I actually fell asleep while typing. But I didn't stop typing! When I woke up, I had a long paragraph full of sentences that didn't make any sense together (but each made sense on its own). If I'd had slightly more presence of mind at the time, I'd have saved it for further review. Instead, I just thought, "well this won't work" and deleted it. I'm sure it would have made for interesting reading. In honor of my friend and first-time chaperone Cindy P, I'll say, "I hear secrets that you keep.......when you're blogging in your sleep."
What a wonderful day yesterday.
It actually started when we had our "random sing." Those of you who have been following us a while will remember singing for the fudge guy in St. Louis. It was the same kind of thing, only it was the breakfast guy at the Hampton Inn. He made us cookies...just for us.
We started a bit late at the children's hospital, but it was because they wanted us to delay. The concert there was good. A nice room to sing in (just the lobby, but nice). There are two music therapists on staff there, and they had brought down several of their patients. And, of course, we had several folks passing through. You'd see a nurse stop and listen for a song or two and then move on. After we sang, two different hospital directors stopped me to tell me how much they enjoyed our singing. One had to follow me out to the bus to catch me. He said something important. "Thank you so much for doing this. Please keep doing it. Here. Anywhere. You have no idea how much it means." Wow. At the risk of turning this thing political, I'd say "Mission Accomplished."
The baritones had been struggling all week long. Cindy kept saying it was hard to award Elwood to a girl because there were so many who emoted so well, but it was hard to award Jake to a boy because there were so few (and ironically, at least one winner is an alto!). So on Thursday she awarded Elwood to Caroline and Jake to the soprano and alto sections. You can imagine the baritones were...not happy. So I issued a challenge. You bring it tomorrow (at the hospital), and I'll buy ice cream. They did. So we stopped just past Nashville for ice cream (I didn't technically buy it, as I shared with them...it was sponsored by someone else who we very much appreciate but for the purpose of this blog shall remain nameless).
One more stop at a rest area to do a little reflection and we headed home. Because of traffic and our late start, we were about an hour and fifteen minutes past our scheduled arrival time. A few minutes to clean the bus and we were off. As I told Lisa when I got into the van, "Aaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh. I'm only responsible for 2 now."
I didn't offer a devotional at our reflection time. We took some time to write a few things down and to write a note of thanks. After that, I gathered the group into a circle. "After today this choir will never be the same. It may be better, or it may be worse. But it will definitely be different. All week we have sung for others. To others. For others. Now we sing for each other. Now we sing to enjoy one last time singing as this choir." And we sang. Witness. As we came to the end ("There's another witness...there's another witness") I couldn't help but look around the circle and think it fitting. There's another witness for my Lord. There are 37 other witnesses for my Lord.
And so it's almost in the books. We sing tomorrow at the CAYA service (and I hope you'll join us for our homecoming). Then it really is in the books. It's once again been one of the most challenging, stressful, tiring, and wonderful weeks in ministry.
A personal note. I had a group of youth buy a shirt for me that they presented on Thursday night. It was a Blues Brothers shirt that says "We're on a Mission from God." As a rule, youth are not especially gifted at showing gratitude. If you do this job long enough, you learn to appreciate gestures like that because they don't come often. I want to say here how much it means to me. Thanks, guys.
Next week, Vacation Bible School, for which I have decided to blog once again! Check back here on Monday for an update!