I cantored at my Catholic church today. (Yes, I'm still two-timing.) It's been eight months since I stopped taking voice lessons, I've been out of choir for a year and a half, and I hardly ever sing anymore except when I'm cantoring (every three weeks or so). Not surprisingly, my range has lessened; I can't hit a high G with confidence or ease, even after I've warmed up for half an hour. The lower notes, too, are less confident. I don't hit them quite as precisely as I did a year ago. Nobody notices (it's a very small difference), but I notice, and it annoys and saddens me at the same time.
Worst of all, though -- because I never had this problem before -- is that I lose my place in the music, sometimes twice in one Mass. It's embarrassing because it's noticeable, and it's shameful because I know I should be better than that. Humility is a good thing, but humiliation makes me want to give up. (Hey, it doesn't take much these days.)
And then there's that nagging feeling deep down inside that I'm burying this wonderful, beautiful, joyful gift God gave me. He gave it to me in order that I might use it to glorify Him and edify His people. It's on me to pursue ways to make it flourish and reach my potential as a vocalist. Voice lessons may be out of the question for the moment (I can't fit them into my day -- why don't they make days 25 hours long? That would work), but nothing prevents me from practicing what I learned. I could do better. I could offer God more than I am. But I'm not.
How many other gifts am I casting aside? Which ones am I "too tired" or "too busy" to use in His service? I have to cut myself a little slack because of medical issues and work, but the responsibility ultimately lies with me -- with my choices. I need to make different ones. That's what love is: acting, not just saying or thinking. Maybe part of my current spiritual malaise can be attributed to that. Choosing to honor God with what I can give Him will strengthen my relationship with Him.
... I hope.
(Sorry for the silence lately. Work has been pretty hellish. Posts may be sporadic for a while.)