IMCC COMMUNITY CHOIR
Winter 2013 Writing Prompt Summaries
Can Singing with others be a vehicle for change?
While we may have different preferences to what we listen to, music is a universal language that can reach across boundaries, joining those who might not otherwise…Music can give us new perspectives. When we sing together we share that common experience.
In a way, it is sad that so many of us now listen through earphones and MP3 players so it isn’t always a communal experience. We are fortunate to have the IMCC choir where we can share the joy of music.
Keeping Involved with Music
One chance to immerse myself in music comes in church all year round.
God’s eye, He within me God’s foot, He before me
God’s Spirit, He round me to shield and restore me God’s freedom to choose me God’s justice to fuse me
God’s purpose to liberate and transform and use me
“If My Dog Love Your Dog”
What do dogs have to give up to love each other- maybe a treasured bone? What do we have to give up – pride, preconceived notions, carefully built up defenses and most important of all dr love of self.
“Who Can Say If I’ve Been Changed for the Better but Because I Knew You, I Have Been Changed for Good.”
I love it when writers get different meanings out of a couple simple words. It is hard to say whether a person or event has changed us “for the better.” Sometimes, hardships change us for the better more surely than good times and even good people. So when the song says, “I have been changed for good,” it could mean changed toward good (as in better). But of course it could also mean changed forever (from here on out).
I thought about the people in my life who’ve helped me be a better person forever. The words that perhaps touch me the most, “it may well be that we will never meet again.”
“There Is More to Me than You See”
Chris’ song sticks in my head…! can’t separate the lyrics from the tune.Jt makes me curious about why Chris hears Latin rhythms in his head.Jfs one way of thinking that Chris is “More than you see.” When we sing the song I imagine it’s being heard by potential employers, “Give me/us a chance.”
At first glance it would seem Chris wants us to take a 2nd look, a longer look. He maybe down for the moment, but he has dreams. Spending time with the words, however, there is more. Don’t just see the potential here. Speak up. Take action. Encourage me. Don’t do it for me. Just provide the opportunity, the upward draft like a mother eagle foi^aglet learning to fly.
.1 usually keep judgments to myself…We all make mistakes…the really important thing is do we learn from those mistakes…! feel we need to get our own house in order instead of getting in someone else’s.
“Lord God, I Feel So Much Hurt Inside…One Day We’II Soon See…Love Lives On.”
Arnold and his words have extraordinary ability to unite people and prompt them to feel together-feel pain, feel hope, feel Iove…Maybe “Love Lives On,” is our choir’s rallying cry like “Boston Strong.” Our outside singers and the inside singers have faced sorrow since we have been together. When I hear one individual sorrows, I feel them as happening to all of us…we grieve together. We hope together. Love lives on. •
What causes me the most hurt- People’s lacfcof ability/willingness to authentically care for others… when we forget to notice how we all are connected, and we choose behaviors to boost our own ego,
others are negatively impacted. I think it is easier for people to care deeply when we see others practicing care.
I think that a lot of that feeling of empathy comes from how we are raised. Most people look at things from a distance: television, internet, newspaper. If it doesn’t affect us personally, them why care.Jt is easier to care more for others once you start actually caring for yourself…l would like to see the men who come through here to leave better in every way they can.
“Actions Speak Louder Than Words”
I think a lot of us in choir feel a bit frustrated that the IMCC schedule allows very.little casual visiting time among members. So I really appreciated the smaller group and increased interaction in the several Writer’s Workshops I attended last summer. There I got to know a few members a little better, which I really enjoyed. Multiply that by three days of soul searching interaction among a small group of insiders and outsiders at AVP training and there was actually time to really get to know each other-enough so that the parting at the end was bittersweet. I was deeply moved when a couple of members mentioned how much they appreciated the fact that some people not only did not treat them tike society’s outcasts but were “brave” enough to, enter their prison…l feel very safe “inside” and certainly among the guys I’ve sung and trained with. Safer than I sometimes feel on the “outside,” in fact. I am inclined to believe people are in prison because of serious mistakes rather than inherent evil; and often it is a question of “there but for fortune go l.”…l know that 1 have been personally enriched by my experience at IMCC.
Winter 2013 Writing Prompt Summaries
“Healer of Our Ev’ry III, Light of Each Tomorrow, Give us Peace Beyond our Fear, and Hope Beyond Our Sorrow.”
I think peace has many dimensions. It is rooted in actions, yet settled deep within one’s self, it is always available with a deep inhale and exhale. Peace means my ability to connect deeply to my core and if more people are mindful of the deep peace available within ourselves, our communal body, then it becomes easier to access. Our attitudes and approaches to our life activities influence the quality of peace we can connect to. Meditation provides a pool of resiliency and peace in my life.
Peace is not the absence of stress, it is the calm in the midst of the storms of life. Even if all were taken away, there can be peace knowing Jesus watches over me and sustains me through this wilderness with His daily bread. Others may carry around bitterness and feel cheated in life. Lifted by peace I let go of the hurt of betrayal and look instead for opportunities to serve and grow, making the most of my time. Gifts like peace are always best shared.
Sometimes I wonder if awareness of what brings peace is the thing that brings peace…Reaching out for peace must be deeply personal and inextricably connectional. Or to sabotage some Shakespeare,
Peace is not peace when it remains inside or flickers on the surface, not within Oh, no, it is a deeply rooted thing that reaches upwards and offers haven.
“If Ye Love Not Each Other in Daily Communion, How Can Ye Love God Whom Ye Have Not Seen.”
For me this is the key line in the song, “More Love.” To love is to care what happens to someone or something and if possible to take action to ensure that good things rather than bad things happens…Caring for others is really a way of caring for ourselves. Coming to IMCC as a member of the choir introduced me to people I had never before thought about or cared for. Over time, however, I came to know some of the IMCC residents, I found myself beginning to care about what happened to them. I began to worry about what it will be like for them when they are released from prison. Will they find supporting families, friends and communities? Will they find rewarding work? Will they find the strength and strategies they need to resist the temptations of alcohol and drugs? In short, will they find the love they need to live happy and productive lives? And will they be able to love in return, to contribute to the creation and maintenance of loving communities?
My acquaintance with IMCC residents has made me realize that we all have a part to play in the rehabilitation process of offenders and that they, like everyone else, need to be loved. I’ve learned about acts of loving kindness that happen inside the prison as inmates begin to care about and for each other. I had not expected to find this here and it has made me realize there is more love in this world than we might suspect, more opportunities to love than we realize and there is never too much love.
Several songs pick up the theme of love – What is love? Is it but a mask for lust, all about taking what I want? While such love has made its way into many a song and advertisement, it is shallow and in the end uninspiring. Love that lifts up, that changes lives, that can impact the whole world, is not self-focused but self-sacrificing. Through such a love we begin to identify with others, to connect with them, to care for
Winter 2013 Writing Prompt Summaries
them. True love moves from emotions to action.Jt is very hard to love when you are empty, but when we knovy that we are loved, for who we are despite all our faults, we can begin to show that same love that is patient and kind, that never keeps trade instead rejoices in the truth, always hopes, always perseveres..,.Before we were born the melody began, ONE loved the unlovable, inspiring hope in each generation. “Love lives on/’ as we join our voices with those who have gone before. Love lives on as we think of others before ourselves. In this life there will always be negative voices to tear us down, to say we are no good, but love lives on, as we learn not to give up singing the song we have been given…Some of us can’t go to Oklahoma or to Boston. None of us can undo what has brought grief to another. But through music we can stand with them. Through music we can share in their hurt or joy, crying out to the “Healer of our every ill.” His song of love does not take away all pain like some mind-numbing drug, but carries us through to a more glorious day…While one day the concert we are preparing for will come to an end, and we will each return to our place, love lives on as the music we have sung together continues in our hearts and minds, inspiring our hands and feet to action and our voices to speak encouragingly.