In her own words: Praise the Lord with trumpet sounds
As a mother of two young children, wife of the life of the party, choir director of 4- and 5-year olds, and preschool music teacher, I have a high tolerance for noise. There’s a lot of noise in our lives. Much of our daily noise is joyful and peppered with laughter and the occasional, highly indignant “no fair!”
Lately, I’ve been consumed with the noise of the world around us. The screams and cries of children separated from their families at our border. The fury of my own sobs as I cry out to a God who loves the vulnerable, the refugee, the immigrant, “How long, oh Lord?!” The resigned voice of the people who answer the phones for our senators and congressman when I give them a forceful message to repent and stand against evil. The clatter of the never-ending dishes I wash. My breathing as I carry baskets of laundry between the basement and the bedrooms. The ping of my phone as a new headline vies for my attention. The crashes from the floor above me as I type and the children run amok (No one is crying or screaming – yet).
Last weekend my family joined other families for a break from the noise of the world. We gathered together at Camp Shalom. The noises are different there.
The whine of mosquitoes. So. Many. Mosquitoes. The yells and chants from the young and wildly enthusiastic camp counselors. The smack of the dodge balls as we ran and spun in the barn. The calls of encouragement from everyone as my 5-year-old determinedly climbed the rock wall and made it to the top, “You can do it, Gary! Keep going! Put your left foot on the orange hold!” The cheers and laughter when a fellow mom finally made it and sort of collapsed/fell through the opening at the top. The quiet of heads bowed in prayer at evening worship. And the music! We sang our table graces, we sang songs with silly motions, we sang our worship songs with hearts full of love for our Savior.
We sang with joy at the community of other families in this sacred place. We sang some songs quietly and some raucously. It was a balm for souls weary of the noise of every day life.
When I was just starting on this journey of motherhood, my very favorite sound was the heartbeat of the child in my womb. I listened to the steady beat in awe at every check up. As my children have grown, my favorite sounds have grown with them. The high-pitched giggles of a baby learning to walk. The sweet, sweet silence of sleeping children after a trying day. The “can we pray about peace?” from a child after a nightmare.
Now that we’ve experienced our first summer at Camp Shalom (we’re already planning for next year!), I can safely say my new favorite sound is that of the voices of every member of my family singing loudly, “Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen!”
-Sara Harless, children’s choir director