“Come, gentlemen, I hope we shall drink down all unkindness.” William Shakespeare
As I plotted out the subject and theme for January’s Choral Potpourri/Choral Ethics blogs, I had a certain expectation of what I would write for each installment. Today’s Try for my Try Method was inspired by a simple spontaneous remark I made to a woman I met amongst the cantaloupes in early December. I noticed she had the most beautiful wool hat and complimented her. She thanked me, told me she had bought it in Paris in September and told me it was WARM as well as beautiful. Trust the French to create something functional as well as beautiful! It felt good to be spontaneous to a stranger and have her appreciate my comments.
As the month of December went along, I felt compelled to try to say nice things to perfect strangers, especially when they seemed to need it. I told a young, frazzled mother waiting in line at the post office that her children were beautifully behaved. I remarked to a woman and her (must have been) elderly mother how lovely they looked in their matching coats. I laughed along with a father at his sons’ antics as they shopped for dress shoes. It was a difficult December for our family so finding something good to say to someone else helped me cope with my sadness.
I mentioned in the beginning of this piece I plotted out each of January’s blogs and that is true. And while inspired in early December for today’s theme, it won’t be anything like what I had imagined it to be. Events in my own life have taken over, and the simple try of saying something nice has been turned around.
This week, I am a bit later than I like in submitting my weekly blog. This was due to the Monday funeral of my father-in-law. He had been failing since mid-October and, while his death wasn’t exactly a shock, it was still sad. My husband, a huge classical music lover along with his father, began planning the funeral music right around Christmas as it began to look grim. Hubby consulted with me, as to what was possible, along with our son who is a professional church musician and fine organist. I contacted my choir members and we waited.
DOD (Dear Old Dad) lost his valiant battle last week. As we began rehearsals for the funeral music and surrounding events, things got tense as they often do with families at stressful times. The funeral would be at the childhood parish of my father-in-law, as well as my husband, and we spoke with the director of music (if you are reading this, Geoff P., THANK YOU!) to make sure everything would work. Many details needed to be taken care of to make sure things would be right. Our son and I worked things out with the others we would be relying on. The funeral music went off without a hitch and it was wonderful to be able to contribute in this way. We are so grateful to those who helped make it happen.
I bet you are wondering what all this has to do with my Try Method. We were not expecting any comments about the funeral music because it was our gift to the family and what we do; we thought nothing of it. After the funeral, at the luncheon and by email and text, people—family and friends and even strangers—having been saying nice things to us. The presiding clergy told one of the uncles how beautiful and appropriate the music was. Other clergy of the parish, who had walked through the church during the service, also told us how lovely it was. Those kind comments have helped with our grieving, though we never imagined they would. At a time when we were stressed and strained and grieving, being told how beautiful and how much they appreciated our contribution has made a huge difference in how we view these events. More than we realized.
I will never take for granted a kind word, a nice comment or a simple word of appreciation again. I will always try to say something nice to others because I know how much it has meant to us these last few days. And that is the final try for this January.