When I was in high school, our choir sang a version of the Christian hymn How Can I Keep From Singing. At that time in my life, I don’t think I understood the full weight of the lyrics. My life was too neat, too charmed, too whole to know what poetry like this meant:
My life goes on in endless song
Above earth’s lamentations,
I hear the real, though far-off hymn
That hails a new creation.
Through all the tumult and the strife
I hear its music ringing,
It sounds an echo in my soul.
How can I keep from singing?
( If that doesn’t paint a strong enough picture for you, please listen to Enya’s version. Nothing reverberates in the soul quite like Enya 😉 )
Today, though, I feel as though I can understand it better. I have had a very long week…I have experienced many struggles emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. I have felt joy and stress. I have been successful and I have been too tired to think. I have had a few highs and one extremely painful low.
Through it all, however, I have been able (&/or forced) to sing. As a music major, the days in which you can simply stop singing are few and far between. There’s always a choir rehearsal or an after-school ensemble practice or a piece that needs extra work. Or in my case, a dress rehearsal for the recital that is approaching WAY too quickly 🙂 Sometimes it is enough to think, “Can I please stop singing?”
Thankfully, the answer to my selfish question is usually no. Despite my negative thoughts or my tired heart, I cannot stop singing. My life is too blessed and too full to ever see living as a chore. To ever resent the music by which I am surrounded. To ever neglect the gift that God has given. To ever refuse to praise Him. I must sing and I know that The Lord is the reason why. When I open my mouth to cry out, His song flows out instead – transforming me, bandaging my wounds, and soothing my soul.
Tonight I experienced one of those small healing moments. In the midst of an emotional weekend, our LST team had our first music rehearsal to prepare for our trip. We began a song called Indescribable. At a time when I thought my heart was not ready to be seen by God, words such as, “You see the depths of my heart and You love me the same,” changed my mind. As scary as it might be to have someone who knows you inside and out, it is a thousand times scarier to imagine going through this life without the one who created your inmost being. Being seen by God is being loved, and being loved is cause for singing.
This week I will have many opportunities to sing. Some of those moments will be required – by my major, by commitments, by circumstances. Some of them might be in harmony with my friends and family. One moment will be a culmination of the past four years of my music education. And some of the most important moments will be in celebration of a life lived in service to God – in memory of a beautiful person.
I will have many opportunities to sing and when I do, I hope it is with a heart that is open in praise to God. I pray that I reach the end of this week with one question bursting from my life – “How can I keep from singing?”