Last night I had a chance to go caroling with a group from my church. I’ll be honest and say that caroling really isn’t my thing. Back in high school, I was in choir so I was daily practicing my singing voice. Nowadays, driving in the car is the only time I sing loudly. Needless to say, my skill level has taken a drastic change for the worse. I was never the greatest singer and now I’m really not the greatest singer. However, I know that I didn’t need to have the best singing voice to bring cheer to those in need this time of year.
Jeremy and I lead a group to a seniors apartment complex in Chehalis, WA. We are both strong leaders, but not strong choir directors. Our group walked the halls of three floors of apartments singing as we went. Since no one in our group was a really strong singer, we all kind of floundered our ways through the songs together. The good news is there was enough of us to fill the hallways with sound. It’s nice to sing in a group where you’re voice isn’t standing out because the group is too small or too quite. We were able to make a joyful noise and that’s all that matters.
I dressed in light layers since I knew the apartments would be warm, but wow, I could have dressed for the tropics and still been too warm. I felt slightly self-conscience as I walked the halls with my red, overheated face being flushed. Many of the residents kept their doors shut (I wonder if our talent had something to do with that?), but for those that opened their doors we had great conversations. I’m amazed at how many sweet old ladies have bowls of candy ready to pass out to children! The kids in our group loved the free handouts and gladly accepted them!
We were given a handout with the lyrics to about 8 classic Christmas carols. As we walked the halls we cycled through the songs. When we stopped at a open door we often asked if they had any requests. The kids would rattle of the list of songs we had words for. The best part was when one of the kids said “Hank the Herald Angles Sing” because the cursive font made the R look like an to them. Moments like that make for fun memories. Once we made it to the third floor we were getting pretty tired. A lot of walking and singing had worn us down and our singing quality had gone down. As we awkwardly tried to hit high notes that would no longer come out, we would start to giggle at how bad we sounded. Once the giggles took hold it was hard to recover the song. I think the giggles might have come from the lack of oxygen we were getting while singing.
The smiling faces and the conversations made the night worth it. It’s important to bless those who might be widows or away from family during the holiday season. Many in these apartments have limited mobility so it was nice to be bring a blessing to them. It was a great opportunity for families to do something special together. There were a lot of great teaching moments for the kids throughout the night. After a couple of years of caroling at the holidays, I can’t say that it has gotten easier. I still get really nervous about my voice and the interactions with people. It’s not in my comfort zone to show up unannounced at someone’s door. I do know that I was asked by my pastoral team to lead a group with Jeremy. I knew that I had a obligation to my team and to my congregation who would be taking a lead from my excitement level. Sometimes in ministry you have to do things you don’t love to do, but they are a blessing to others and they are opportunities to deepen connections with people. I’m glad that we went and I’ll have some good memories to go along with my sore throat. Overall, I learned that it doesn’t matter how well we did the job, it was just that we did it with a cheerful heart.