Thursday, April 12, 2007

#163 - Easter - Random Neural Firings

I completely missed Easter, blog-wise. That's actually pretty shameful for a guy who loves to write as much as I do. My only excuse is that our lives have not quite fully recovered from the events of last year, and we're still trying to attain a sense of balance here at home.

On the plus side, we had a pretty nice Easter, all things considered. I've mentioned before about our Easter practices. From the beginning, Mrs. Woody and I have tried to keep the commercial aspects of Easter from interfering with those much deeper and spiritually significant aspects. Thus, Easter for the Woodyettes begins on Saturday. That's when the Easter Bunny does his thing. We get the cutesy baskets with American Dental Association Retirement Fund Approved candy out of the way. Then we can turn our attention to the Savior with only a momentary interruption whilst we unwrap a chocolate mini-egg.

Now that I'm back in the choral saddle this season, Easter becomes even more special through the music I get to perform. We did two performances incident to Easter celebrations this year. One was our Stake's Easter Devotional that took place the Sunday before Conference. There were two things about this concert that I really enjoyed. One was a youth choir that was put together especially for this concert. They did a wonderful job with a small "oratorio" that sounded suspiciously like a JKP work. The boys - as boys are wont to do - looked totally bewildered pretty much the entire time, but they kept with it like troopers.

The second enjoyable aspect of this concert were three pieces that we performed. One is a setting of "Be Still, and Know that I Am God." It tells exactly why we have a Savior and why we need him so very much. Equal to that task is a piece for men entitled "Thou Art God." Our men's section is not the strongest that I've ever performed with, but we're sincere. The Spirit makes up the balance.

Lastly is a Randall Thompson piece called "The Best of Rooms." This is a setting of an old Robert Herrick (very old, like 1600's old) poem of that name. It uses the analogy of the body as a temple of the Lord, and declares that "the choice" room - the best room of all - is the heart. It is a typical Thompson piece, but expensive in the support area. I have pretty terrific breath support, but this piece exhausts me. It's not the range; it's the dynamics. We go from very soft but intense to quite loud and melismatic and back again with not much chance for more than catch-breaths throughout. But the effect is wonderful.

The second concert was actually an Easter devotional for our California Anaheim Mission. Our numbers were interspersed with numbers and testimonies by various missionaries. They did everything from "The Trumpets Shall Sound" from "Messiah" to an original piece written by a missionary from New Zealand (a young Maori, from the looks of him).

In all of these celebrations we were tremendously buoyed by the Spirit. Mrs. Woody and I had occasion to teach on Easter Sunday. Mrs. Woody is one of the instructors in Relief Society, while I have the same calling in Elders Quorum. (They gave me that calling so that I'd have a real job to do, bearing in mind that I also still have my Stake Sunday School presidency job, to which I have alluded elsewhere.) Since the topic was "Discovering the Scriptures for Ourselves" from the Spencer W. Kimball manual, it was easy to put an Easter spin in the lesson.

The Woodyettes, of course, understand Easter better than I think I give them credit. They both live nearer to the Savior than their perpetually-distracted Dad does, and I'm not altogether ashamed to say that. For one thing, Mrs. Woody keeps the girls very well grounded, spiritually. Since we homeschool, our school day begins with a song and a prayer, not roll-call. The girls both have a rather long prayer list in the style employed by their Grandma Zornes. They move through that list faithfully in nearly every prayer, including blessings on the food.

Two true anecdotes: The girls' other Grandma, RoboMom, passed away during the holidays. For a couple of years she had been at the top of their prayer lists. For several weeks after she died, the girls were loathe to drop her from their prayers, but they instantly changed from asking that the Lord help her, to asking the Lord to make sure she has a good time in Heaven. They have finally accepted that RoboMom is doing well in her new locale and they have moved on to one of their great-aunts.

Also on their prayer lists is Dad. Me, I mean. Since last summer the girls have steadily prayed that "Daddy won't have any more episodes," meaning the heart palpitations that I've been dealing with since last May or so. Darned if it isn't working! In the last two months I've only had, maybe, two episodes. And heaven knows I've had plenty of stress triggers that should have caused them over that same period. So Mommy and Daddy are both convinced that the girls are little prayer-powerhouses.

That was my Easter. How was yours?

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