Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Heartland Missionaries

A month of Sunday special go-to-meetin’s has nothing on their little fingers wrapped around a microphone, deep breaths and lip licks magnified, eyes glistening, ready now . . . to sing for the world. They send their message out to dark corners everywhere, hopes of forgiveness, changing a mind, kindness, and joy, joy, joy.

The Nelson Brothers, 10 and 11 years old, wearing unmatched suits pressed so shiny flat, could not have sat before going out on stage. One has shoes, the other fresh, white socks on sweet blessed feet bringing Good News. “Weeping may endure for a night . . . “ Their brightly smiled serious lyrics with earnest brows and moves tell on them. They know weeping. They know hope, amazing joy. Our lapels and laps freely accept our tears.

A small denim and plaid cowgirl, with boots she whispers aren’t real leather, fixes her flashing dark eyes on a spot beyond us, her confidence reflecting off the back wall of mirrors to include even those standing in the aisles, and sings right through the spot. We collectively pause, and then, oh yes, clap wildly.

Five barefooted Indian girls with peach and pomegranate flowing silks and enchanting Indian voices press their palms to the sky. We watch spellbound at the possibility that they are really royal princesses having arrived moments ago on a magic carpet from heaven.

One after another, each performance leads us to a better place than that which we have briefly left. Our hearts well up with gratitude. We, of all shapes and sizes, nod warmly at each other in the semi-darkness. We share gladness for being alive.

The five-dollar ticket/ballot is to determine the Most Enjoyed Talent (MET Award) and help continue the Talent Showcase for 9 to 12 year-olds. We are to circle only two performances. Oh, wish they could all win the $100 prize.

“They deserved to win,” says the cowgirl, politely waving over to the well-rehearsed Indian girl group. “And, the boy who sang ‘Forgive’ just about made us faint backstage.” He came in second. I happily hold Savannah’s cowgirl music CD as she says goodbye to her friends and goes to get her t-shirt.

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Le Violiniste Bleu, Chagall