I do tend to lament the hard parts of my life a wee bit too much. I should be more grateful … especially as someone who grew up in a “third world” country and has seen and experienced so much worse. I have a job. My kids are healthy. I am able to put food on the table. That should be enough.
I left work at 1600. I went to pay my rent and pick up something from my ex. I was prepared to get my youngest child ready for baseball practice at 1730 which, thankfully, was cancelled today. I was relieved. Still, I had to feed the boys dinner and then get the youngest gussied up in his official choir attire as he was scheduled to perform at the local ‘Race for the Cure’ walk taking place this evening. We had to be on premises at 1900 dressed and ready. I complained. Not aloud, mind you. I don’t allow myself to put a damper on my son’s excitement, but my heart was not in the entire process.
We arrived at the ‘Race for the Cure’ venue and practically the entire town was present. There were games. There was food. Race teams were walking the track. Parents with cameras were lingering around the staging area waiting for the moment their child(ren) would be on stage. Big K (age 13) and I lingered with them sans camera (no batteries). The kingergarten/1st grade choir sang. The 2nd/3rd grade choir (including Little K) sang. The 4th/5th grade choir sang. Somewhere in there it hit me. This is small-town America and, yet, we have managed to keep the arts alive and well in our schools here. Choir. Band. Art. It’s all here and our children have the opportunity to participate in artistic programs throughout their education. I love this. My boys love this.
And, then, the 4th/5th grade choir stepped off of the stage and took up the area directly in front while their younger choir counterparts filed back onto the stage. There they stood … all the elementary school choirs combined and they sang. They sang as one voice in joy and harmony. White children. Black children. Oriental children. Hispanic children. The stunningly beautiful children of mixed race. While I live in Redneck Hell, USA we are still a diverse community. With my background, this is something else for which I should be grateful. I was still marveling at my sudden thankfulness to our school system for providing such opportunities for our children when I had to digest that living here isn’t always so bad. Truthfully, I was feeling a bit shell shocked and then I began to listen to the words of the song those children, my son included, were singing … and I cried. I very rarely cry. Ever. Let me share the lyrics with you (as recited by my youngest as I experienced serious Google fail in an attempt to find them myself):
I am a child of this world.
My voice is a voice that matters.
I am a child of this world
And when I sing, my voice is heard.
Can you imagine if everyone in the world
sang together, together?
What a wonder that would be.
And can you imagine if while we were singing,
we all forgot to hate, forgot to fight?
What a wonder that would be!
They say that music touches everyone, it’s true.
Oh, I know that my voice is part of that music, too!
©2005 Teresa Jennings, Plank Road Publishing
There is more, but I can do better! I found it because, again, my youngest child is awesome and he had a copy of the lyrics residing in his backpack. It just took him a bit to remember that it was there!! Go HERE and click “Play MP3” to hear it. Listening to children … CHILDREN … sing these words serves to give me hope. Hope for the future. Hope for my own life.
I am humbled tonight. Still exhausted, but the little people have helped me put some things back into perspective.
“Have you ever noticed how grateful you are to see daylight again after coming through a long dark tunnel?”…Always try to see life around you as if you’d just come out of a tunnel.” ~Mr. Smith Goes To Washington, Film (1939)