My mother loves me and proved it every single day after supper when I was a child: while she washed the dishes and I dried, she let me sing my little heart out. That was the only time I was allowed to sing, because… well, my musical talent left a lot to be desired.
I am all grown-up now, and I still love to sing! And I still don’t sound too good. So out of respect for people’s ears, I have learned to not sing too much when in public.
But I belong to a church full of musicians. Music majors, voice majors, music teachers, music performers, you name them, they are a part of my church. When we get together, worship is never just a few people lifting their voices to the Lord. It always involves trumpets, flutes, different harmonies and all the bells and whistles. And then there is me… I used to get quite intimidated at times.
But a marvelous thing happened as I tried to find my place into this very gifted environment. I call it the wonder of shadowing. Let me explain: when we sing, I position myself next to someone with a strong voice—not hard to find in my circle of friends!—and I follow their voice. They carry me, and somehow I manage to match my voice to theirs. That way, I don’t sound too horrible.
I still can’t really carry a tune; I just shadow. I listen carefully and imitate what I hear. And when I do hit a wrong note, my voice is mostly hidden under the strength of theirs. My weakness is swallowed by their strength. I can lean on it; I feel protected under their shadow.
I like that. Maybe I can return the favor once. Maybe there are strengths in me that others can shadow, or lean on. Come to think of it, maybe we all should lean a little more on each other. Maybe God always meant for us to have weaknesses and strengths, that we might see His glory in each other and never think we’ve got it together. Mmmm… Food for thought?