Easter has always been one of my favorite holidays. My absolute all-time favorite holiday is Christmas, and Easter runs a close second. To me, Easter symbolizes, of course, Christ’s triumph over the grave. The fact that death no longer holds any power over the Christian, and the idea that we can truly rejoice—in all circumstances—always brings a spirit of joy to the whole day for me. But this year, Easter was different, and it was my own stupid fault.
Have I mentioned I love singing? Probably. I love singing. Music and words are my heart and soul, and, as I’m also a Christian, I think singing is one of the best ways I can worship God. And a cappella singing is my obsession. I am a fan of The Isaacs, a family bluegrass group often connected with the Gaither Homecomings. In 2011, they released an a cappella arrangement of the hymn “I Will Praise Him.” (You can check out their version here.) My friends and I heard them perform this live last September, and were utterly enthralled. Then somebody got an idea.
See, every Christmas, the past few years, our girls’ group leader got us together to sing an a cappella song or two. The four of us have pretty well learned our harmony parts, and, at the risk of sounding prideful, we sound kind of good. So when we heard “I Will Praise Him”, we thought it’d be such a great idea to teach ourselves the arrangement, and sing it on Easter Sunday morning as a surprise for our leader.
Eheheheheheheh. You know how quickly 8 months goes by?? Because we decided to sing about 5 keys lower than the original, I transposed the notes on paper. (Which is a literal headache, by the way.) However, my friend’s voice teacher finally transposed the actual track, which saved our necks, because my way was taking too long.
Long story short…we didn’t start learning our parts until 2 months before Easter, and by 10 a.m. Easter Sunday morning, we had yet to practice as a group of four. My brain was alternating between small panic attacks and bursts of excited nerves. Then my friend casually mentioned that our girls’ group leader (also her mother) wasn’t coming because she had to work that morning
So our main “audience”—the only reason we were doing the song—wouldn’t be there to hear our surprise. (My friend says she told me before, but I don’t remember this at all.) Trying to refrain from screaming out loud, I calmly informed the other two girls, just arriving, that we would be singing in the evening.
To be honest, I didn’t care when we sang. It was that we had planned and worried and prepared, and now we had to stretch this out a little longer. So I sulked. Morning service held zero appeal for me, and I have no idea what my pastor was preaching on. Then I went home. After dinner, I did what any self-pitying girl would do: vented to my best friend, who lives 12 hours away. I bemoaned what a TERRIBLE day I was having, and how I could just CRY from frustration.
Her reply came a few minutes later. “I’m sorry. Nannie is no longer with us. Please pray for mom especially and Pawpaw.
Then I really did cry. I felt like someone had just slapped me upside the head, and with good reason. Here I was, whining like a 5 year old about something completely irrelevant to the rest of the universe, and my best friend was dealing with matters of life and death, literally.
I texted her back my love and prayers, and then I thought about what I was doing. I had worked so hard on something so temporal. I was so concerned about meeting man’s approval that I was completely missing the point of the song. “I Will Praise Him.” Isn’t that the point of Easter? Jesus made himself the lowest Person on the planet, and made Himself utterly detestable in His own Father’s eyes, and for what? So we ridiculous humans could have a fighting chance at eternal life. And not just to improve our eternal life, but our present life as well. What is the point of living on this earth, and living well here, if this is all there is?
Easter Sunday should be a joyous occasion for every Christian to remember, and to celebrate, and praise God for the Crucifixion and Resurrection. Easter is so much more than a new suit, or chocolate eggs, or lilies on the platform. It is a reminder of why we live and why we have life.
We sang our song Sunday night, and we sang it WELL, if you ask me. It turned out for the better, because we had the afternoon to practice together. But I couldn’t help feeling a little bummed that I had ruined pretty much my whole day, because I let my frustrations get the better of me. I had lost focus of the only reason I could sing the song in the first place.