08 July 2013

My Calling

I may have mentioned that I am the choir director in my ward. I've had this calling before in my single adult days and in our first married ward. In the single's ward I loved this calling 100% of the time. In our first married ward I loved it 90% of the time. In this ward, I'm struggling to love it 50% of the time.


Somehow, stake leadership and ward members have decided that ward choir is not as important as the other callings. In my ward, I don't even have a budget to purchase snacks to bribe people to come and sing (since that's what it takes). I find most of my music in the BYU music library or online from LDS composers who share their music for free.

Our ward recently got kicked from our building to allow the MTC to use half our building. No big deal, right? Well, guess not. We share a bigger building with some YSA wards who originally told my bishop that we wouldn't be allowed to have choir since the building has eight wards. My ward meets at 10:15am. After our three hour block the chapel isn't being used but I guess we can't meet then. The only time we can meet is from 9:00am to 9:45am says the stake. That time is when the ward leadership has ward council. So unless the ward decides to do the choir a solid and change that, I'll continue to be stuck with minimal ward participation. We had a GREAT choir until Winter semester ended in April. People moved out. Other people got called to leadership positions. Other people just quit coming. In fact, FOUR of my regular singers can no longer attend because they have leadership meetings now.

I'm tired of this calling. It is 90% dependent on ward members to make it happen. Sure, magnify my calling. Well, that's hard to do when three people show up for choir and we're not able to practice when we'd be able to have more people attend. It's frustrating to feel like no amount of persuasion or testimony sharing can portray to my ward how important ward choir is. No one cares. They are all too busy with callings or visiting family or they have new babies so that somehow constrains them from attending choir. Tyson and I worked it out. Right now, Tyson is a ward clerk so he was stuff to do after church. William is a runner but I have to try and watch him and direct choir at the same time. I'm lucky that I have some friends who still come and who are willing to help wrangle him. I had a baby and did choir. They are much easier to deal with than a nap-needing toddler. Trust me.

And yes, I did attend Sunday School yesterday. And yes, I did listen and understand the lesson about not being offended, about how our leaders are not perfect, about how to not lose our testimonies. And I get it. I just feel like I'm stuck in an impossible situation that is being exacerbated by the stake and ward. I'm ready to have a new calling. Give me something else and I will come sing in the choir faithfully. Maybe we need to check out the family ward instead. I love my ward though. We have great people in it but people get in this mentality of "Well, I'm leaving that the end of the summer/semester/year/whatever so I am not going to participate fully 'cause we're leaving anyway." I feel burdened. My bishop expects the choir to perform at least once a month but that can't happen if no one is in choir.

Guess I need to do some pondering and praying about this calling and my attitude about it.

Maybe someday I'll learn to love it 100% again. I sure hope so.

I love choir. Choir is seriously cathartic. When I sing in ward choir I can feel my testimony growing. We sing mostly hymns but the hymns teach sweet principals of the gospel. I feel the spirit when I sing in choir. 

"A song is a wonderful kind of thing, so lift up your voice and sing. Just start a glad song, let it float, let it ring, And lift up your voice and sing. We shall make music to brighten the day; Music will help us to lighten the way. Lift up your voice! Lift up your voice! Lift up your voice and sing!" - Children's Primary Songbook, "Lift Up Your Voice And Sing", pg. 252

This is how I feel when I sing. 

I heard this song on the radio yesterday and it touched my heart: "When I Sing" by Tyler Castleton. I looked for the lyrics online but couldn't find them; so here's a video:

I have a testimony of the power of uplifting music and the hymns. We have been taught that music is a channel for the spirit to teach us truths of the gospel. 

I wish my ward members felt this way too.


Jay and Abbey Rowley said...

I wish you were our ward choir director! We've been here 6+ months and have yet to have the choir sing. We didn't even sing on Easter! The choir director told us in February that we didn't have enough time to prepare. Almost every time I show up to practice, it's been cancelled. Very annoying.

Anyway, keep your chin up! The Lord knows you're doing your best. The last time I was ward choir director, we had a similar problem. I ended up handing out the music to everyone during the week, told them to just come stand up with the choir, and prayed for the angels to sing with us.

Jade Jones said...

I totally understand your frustration Denise. unfortunately the same problems exist everywhere. our ward is mostly military and people have the same I'm not here permanently so why bother attitude. Mitch was stuck acting as interim EQ president (and presidency since he was the only counselor) when the eq president moved even though the stake knew about it over 6 months in advance. just keep doing the best you can. heavenly father knows your heart and how much you want it to work. that is what is most important.