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  • Sarah Raad

Singing

With any surgery there is a period of recovery, and it is just the same with the reception of God’s Grace, which should be followed by a period of reflection to allow us to align our will with His…

Forgiven (Greg Olsen)

When I was a little girl, my parents wanted me to learn to play the piano. At first the lessons were okay, but I soon realised that I had very limited talent as a pianist and the practice involved was relentless. And because I was clever enough to work out that there is a lot of work involved in music, I very soon tried to weasel my way out of it!


But there is one thing that I know about my parents and that is that they are very determined people! They had the foresight – that I was lacking – to understand that I would appreciate this opportunity in the future, even if I did not appreciate it at the time.


And my parents – and my mother most particularly – believe in the importance of discipline! And so, when they realised that they were losing my attention on the piano and I was in danger of quitting, my parents decided to take the high road to convince me to persevere… They decided to offer me a bribe!


You see, my parents knew that I enjoyed singing and that while I found playing the piano very difficult, I found singing very enjoyable and not challenging at all. And so it was that they offered to provide me with singing lessons if I would agree to continue with the piano.


And – true to their word – they did just that. And – true to mine – so did I.


The interesting thing about singing is that people consider that a good singer has a naturally pleasant-sounding voice, and while this assumption is – to some extent – correct, it is not entirely true.


You see, for a classical (or any) singer, the most important thing about singing is not the voice at all. The most important thing is the breathing and the way you open your mouth to articulate the sound using that air from your lungs...


You see, if you do not know how to breathe using your diaphragm to expand your lungs to their maximum potential, and you do not know how to open your palate at the back of the throat to release that air smoothly and gently, then you cannot possibly sing beautifully.


Last year I had some major surgery and part of that surgery involved repairing some damage to my lungs and diaphragm, which was causing me problems with my breathing and by default with my singing…


Now, this damage did not occur suddenly. Instead – over a period of many years – this slow and insidious problem arose. In fact, the change was so gradual that I did not even notice how impacted my lung function was until AFTER the surgery that repaired it…

And I have been thinking about this because this reminds me of the effects of sin…

You see, when we sin, we develop vices. Vices are the bad habits that we persist in over time – they are the opposite of virtues, which are good habits that we should endeavour to attain.


Perhaps at first – when we first sin – it starts with something small, like a small white-lie when we do not wish to hurt someone’s feelings, or taking the extra piece of cake when we are already entirely full and know that someone else would have liked to eat it instead.


At first – just as with my impaired breathing – it is something little, something justifiable, and something unimportant. In fact, at first the impairment is so small that it is almost imperceptible. But give it just a bit of time… You see, if we become accustomed to the small things then what stops us with the bigger ones? Judas Iscariot started with the small things. We are told in the Gospel that Judas kept some of the money for himself. It started small with him. Judas started with small betrayals – and ended with the ultimate betrayal of the Son of Man…


And once we get started on such vices, things become more difficult… Then, it is only through God’s GRACE that things can change! And this is much the same as it was for me and my surgery… Things became so badly impacted that eventually the only possible thing to do was to operate – nothing else would help…


And surgery is uncomfortable! With any surgery – even the most minor surgery – there is a period of recovery. And it is just the same with GRACE. You see, after Grace is received, there is – or should be – a period of reflection where we consider how best to please God, because that is when we realise just how awful things had actually become before He came to find us…


And so now – as I sing with all of my now-fully-functioning lungs – it occurs to me how lucky I am to be the child of my God…


For what wonderful care He takes of me – preparing me so that I can sing for Him…


For with prayer, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.

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