As the scientific/medical and government worlds churn to maintain healthy populations in the face of a frightening, devastating virus, many are left floundering.
Families are self-isolating or submitting to lockdowns and quarantine orders.
Churches are envisioning how to “do church” without public, in-person gatherings. (Perhaps many will now be forced to re-envision what it means to be church, quite apart from the man-made creation of the religious “service.” Please see here for more on the label “worship service.”) ¹
Businesses are temporarily closing, and paychecks are in jeopardy . . . and some now have time and space to dream of newness.
Like most people, I have no medical qualifications and only a modicum of medical insight. These days, I take typical precautions, and I encounter now-oddly-normal stresses . . . and I also seem to have greater-than-normal time to envision and dream about other things.
For years I have known something about myself, and it’s not necessarily a good thing, although it can be satisfying to an introvert: I often feel more energized in envisioning, dreaming, planning, and working out plans than I do from seeing the fruition in groups. That is commentary on several aspects: on my inner energy and imagination, yes, but also on my lack of ability to plan effectively; on other people’s shortcomings, and on my inability to bridge the gap between dreams and reality.
The best devotional times, the best worship gatherings, the best Camp Manatawny hymn sings, and the best Lights (Christian a cappella octet) programs were better in my head than in the execution. Even the highest-quality musical performances I’ve been privileged to lead—with the University of Northern Colorado, Houghton College, Texas A&M-Kingsville, and Kansas City Wind Symphony ensembles—probably didn’t give me as much inward energy and encouragement as the silent, planning/dreaming phases that had preceded the performances.
Easter is coming. I’m not one to get into the “Lenten Season” or to place too much emphasis on one Sunday over another, but Easter can certainly be observed with pleasure and joy. A friend invited me to perform, and I asked if there could be a place for a special arrangement. He replied, “Of course!” “Okay!” said I . . . and off I went to dream and envision. I had begun that arrangement around the time the effects of the virus pandemic began to be felt in the U.S.
And now what?
What’s going to happen with the arrangement now? It’s almost finished. And I’d give it about a 40% chance of being performed at all, and less chance than that of blessing people who choose to be, or are allowed by the government to be, in the same room. And that’s discouraging, because public performance is one important goal of music. But was the effort a waste? No, hardly. The creative process is a goal in itself.
I’ve envisioned. I’ve heard it in my head. I’ve been conscious of the emotions, the intentions. I’ve audiated.² I’ve hoped. I’ve dreamed. I’ve audiated some more, and I’ve refined the music based on what I see and hear. And in the process, I’ve worshipped a little.
What are you doing now that you might not have found the time or reason to do a couple weeks ago? How is this time going for you? Gotta get back to my arrangement now. I just had another idea to make it better.
¹ I take this phenomenon as primarily the result of human ingenuity. It has, just like other human creations, some good elements and intentions. It has also, like other human creations, gone awry, in my estimation. I added this footnote after reading Bill’s comment.
² This page gives a nicely succinct definition of audiation: the comprehension and internal realization of music by an individual in the absence of any physical sound.