Like the rest of humanity, I have never found a word that adequately names the Un-nameable, that is generally referred to as God, YHWH, or Abba. I think the Native American term "The Great Mystery" comes closest for me. What I do have confidence in is that there is a deeper, wider, higher, and wiser SOMETHING that I am saying more and more "Yes!" to, doing my best to step out of my doubt and allow it to move through me into this hurting world.
That said, I am a witness.
Leadership does not come naturally to me. Being in the younger bunch of a family of eight, I always had others to set the agenda and to cooperate with. Being a twin who strongly resembled my twin sister (family debates on whether we were identical or note went on for years), I blended in and it might have been me or my sister at any given moment. At home we were called, "the twins" and at school when we were in the same class and raised a hand the teacher would call out, "Mary/Dottie, Dottie/Mary, whoever you are!" I got used to being this blurry person. Liked well-enough, but not exactly a stand-out!
So it has taken a lifetime to unlearn those early experiences. Living 1000 miles apart from my sister now, nobody mixes us up anymore. But my inward "hide in the crowd and watch and go along with" rule of the day has taken much longer to shake. I missed the incognito mode of being lost in the crowd and had to start taking responsibility for what was or wasn't happening in my life!
Fast forward....life brought lessons of curiosity. I hung around with people learning about energetic healing. They could see auras, hear channeled messages, see movies inside their heads that they felt were spiritually inspired. I was fascinated but didn't experience those things. Occasionally I felt a bit of heat in my hands. That's it. I wished I had their gifts! But I didn't.
Then, one chilly winter January day five years ago, a friend at church invited whosoever would to go over to the local nursing home and sing Christmas carols with the people there. Sure, I thought, that would be a friendly thing to do.
That day changed my life. When singing in a sunroom where several residents were hanging out, one woman started crying. She explained that the young woman in the wheelchair next to her was singing! In four years since that young woman had been placed there after a tragic car accident in college, she had never been able to speak! And today she was singing!!
For a year I went around telling people about that powerful experience. Music, the act of singing, could heal! Could reach places medicine couldn't and free the soul! We must do more of this!! The simple act of singing was within reach of anybody any time!! We must do more of this, especially with people who are hurt, in body or in soul!! Let's do it!! Let's do it!!
And I waited for someone else to name when, where, and for whom we would do it.
One day I finally got it. They weren't going to do it. This call had been laid, planted, and nurtured in my heart. Not someone else's.
I was filled with self-doubt. I felt there were so many stronger musicians than me who would be critical of my efforts. I just felt smaller and less smart than the many capable people who led other projects at our church. I felt embarrassed to stand up and say I was doing this and would others please join me?
But then I thought of the woman who had been trapped in a silent world until our singing visit. I knew there were others who could benefit. And it was really such a simple thing to do....
Well, for the first year it was as I had feared. My wife came in support of me, and two long-time friends. Occasionally one other woman would drop by. But that was it.
We hung in there, the four of us, until I got very sick and was bedridden for months.
But something we couldn't see was happening during that inward time. When I was strong enough to return to this intention, there was new response. Now we have a thriving circle called The Healing Circle Singers, where 9-18 people come together weekly for one faithful hour to sing and pray and do hands-on healing for one another and the world. It has a life of its own and I am clear as a bell that it is in our opening to Spirit, the Great Mystery, moving through us, and our willingness to open our hearts and voices, that healing love and energy is channeled.
I know that God works with the small and the weak. It does not need to be any bigger. This is abundant and enough.
But God is doing a new thing! Wednesday we had someone new visit for the second time. She loved it and wrote about it on Facebook. An alternative healer, an oncologist in Columbia, South America, saw it and contacted me. Yesterday we talked, and next Wednesday she will be starting two different healing singing circles, one of 15 people, and one with ten!
I stand all amazed!
We bring what we have, some loaves, some fishes, what we've got. And God will do the multiplying. It's an old old story, and I am reading it in a brand new way. Jesus knew what he was talking about! Blessings to all.