This past Sunday morning, a group in church sang a song and used their God-given talents to worship from their hearts and in doing so enhanced the worship experience of those of us in the sanctuary. They finished...and we all applauded. I mean, our church encourages this. I grew up in a church that was a little more formal, and it just wasn't done. That may be different now, of course. I mean, times change. But twenty-five years ago when we first started attending our church, I remember sitting there after a song was over and being stunned that the congregation just started clapping. I was used to that awkward reverent silence that sometimes comes after a stirring performance when people aren't sure what to do. Actually, I think that the spontaneous applause was one of the things about my church that made me know that I was in the right place. Yes, I had to get over the hand-holding thing at the end, but they've since stopped that.
I like to applaud. It makes me happy. It is a way of telling people that I appreciate their gifts and that I wholeheartedly agree with what they've been singing. That it is exciting to be in agreement with them. That I have an outlet for my enthusiasm...even if it is just slapping my two hands together in a manner that society agrees is socially acceptable for indicating pleasure. Well, at least in the society that I live in it is. I'm Southern. We applaud. When I was in college at Troy, we'd burst into applause if someone dropped their tray in the dining hall. Whistles were added if something actually broke.
I am a fairly expressive person. I talk with my hands and I move when I talk. Sometimes it takes everything I have in me to refrain from bouncing up and down with enthusiasm. I may be 48, but if you tell me some good news, I may react like I'm eight. It's always a crapshoot. I had to learn to contain this when I went to work in the adult world because if you jump up and down like a "Price Is Right" contestant, they'll think you are brainless. Sad, but true.
That movement thing isn't limited to me just being happy. I'm also one of those people who cannot listen to music without moving. I mean, it is virtually impossible for me to not react to what I'm hearing. I listen to a lot of rock music. Loud rock music. Screaming guitars. Thundering drums.
Sometimes this makes life interesting.
Especially if this "moving" business is happening when I'm not really thinking about it or where I might be at that point in time. I shudder to think of what some people that pass my office might witness. Or folks that pull up beside me at a stoplight. Because, you see, I totally rock. Physically...not always so much in the figurative sense. And I'm fairly positive that what I think I'm doing and what I'm actually doing are about as different as night and day.
I don't usually play air guitar...I tend to be the drummer. Not that I have ever picked up a pair of drumsticks and attempted to do actually do this...I just think I can in my own mind. I've always been able to pick out the awesomeness of the drums in a song I like, and I hear that as much as I do the melody. Weird, yes? I'd try it out on my son's "Rock Band" game...but he hogs the drumsticks...and all he lets me do is sing. As long as the song doesn't require me to hit notes that only dogs can hear (sadly, I sing on key but have virtually no range)...I score high...and he likes that.
My only attempt to play guitar was in high school when I had a Heart album and thought that I could figure out how to be the next member of their group (delusions of graudeur...ya think?) on my own. Never mind learning about those pesky little things called "chords." Too bad they were um...totally necessary.
But in all of my playing and daydreaming...I've never once heard applause. I never expect to, either. I just get all into the music because I enjoy it. It doesn't seem enough to just be listening to it. I have to get into it physically. I have to keep the beat with my head, drum away or sing along. Sitting still is totally not an option. My feet move and my fingers tap. This phenomenon occurs even with commercials. I know! Weird.
At our Wesleyan 25th Class of 1985 reunion, to entertain ourselves, we sang into hairbrushes and rocked out to songs that we had not heard in many moons. I mean, we had classics like Rick James' "Superfreak" hit the charts while we were college freshmen. We were "superfreaking...yow." Frankly, in retrospect, I think that the Rick James video for this is super-freaky. Like literally.
|Okay, Lisa, Libbie and I were not rocking here...but we were AFTER this photo was taken, because actual rocking out photos are as they say "unavailable" by unanimous consent. :)|
When we finished...applause!
|The members of "Hen Party." We totally rocked. :)|
I don't know what kind of music you prefer...and what makes your soul sing. Maybe you have an eclectic mix that crosses all genres, or you may be like me...fairly tied to just one type of music (rock/alternative). But whatever it is that makes you move or makes you applaud...it is a gift, is it not? Can't a song transport you to a point in time or a memory that makes you smile? (or wince) Sure it can.
So, do as Lynyrd Skynyrd says..."turn it up"...and enjoy the music that makes your heart sing. Oh, and if you pull up beside me at a stoplight..try not to laugh too hard.