April 2018

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Total Experience

Today at our little church, Pastor Patrinell Wright sang Alice Parker and Robert Shaw's "Sometimes I Feel Like a Moanin Dove," with our church choir.

How did she get here? I don't know. Wait, yes I do. It was grace.

In 1964, the year of my birth, she traveled from her Texas home to make a home in Seattle, WA, just so that she could sing to me today. I'm not sure where today's lyrics came from, her own rendition or an older rendition that I can't find.

This morning, she lifted her arms and sang with a soulfulness that took my breath away. She sang of sadness, "Sometimes, I feel like a moanin dove," and "Sometimes, I feel like a motherless child," and she sang of beauty's power, "Sometimes, I feel like an eagle in the air."

The sadness and the beauty lifted me. Her presence lifts me, too. She's given her gift of song and of spirit to the world in a way that has often brought her onto stage with famous folk and into public awards and recognition for all that she has given.

In my little church, however, she faced the congregation and, before she sang, she folded her hands in namaste, a greeting that I learned in yoga that means, "I honor you." She put her fingers to her mouth and blew us a kiss. I learned this signal, "I love you," long ago.

And then she sang. I sat in my pew and believed that she sang to my cross-eyed and somewhat crippled self. I felt honored. I felt loved.

At the end of the service, I wanted to say thank you, but she was already gone. I didn't hear the boards creek when she left. It seems that she left more quietly, as angels do.

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