Before my chronic health problems forced me out of it, I had a career as an actor. Thanks to rheumatoid arthritis I can no longer dance much, but I still enjoy singing and in all honesty I'm a little vain about my speaking voice. The wonderful Arthur Greene, voice teacher at the University of Virginia, took a nasal, flat-vowelled kid from New Jersey and taught him how to talk pretty good. Not quite the ideal Nebraska accent of Tom Brokaw and Johnny Carson; not quite the stentorian tones of James Earl Jones...but I do OK. Whenever the church has something that needs to be spoken well, I'm usually on the short list and I couldn't be prouder.
Every year our wonderful music department designs one Sunday service from scratch. It's called "Music For The Soul." We have had a number of different themes over the years, always combining some fairly challenging choral music with appropriate readings, and it's usually well-received and well-attended by our congregation. This year our music director realized that 25 years ago, Unitarian minister Robert Fulghum first published his best-selling "Everything I Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten." So she decided to build this year's service around that, including a somewhat difficult reading. Our director knew it was going to be difficult and at first tried to keep it in the family rather than impose it on somebody else, but their reaction was pretty much, "Oh, I can't do this."
So she asked me.
We are performing "Music For The Soul" twice this year, once at each of our two "campus" buildings. The first time was last week and the next and last time will be this Sunday. Last week I barely got through this reading. It's actually getting more and more difficult to get through it, and when you read it, I think you'll understand why. It follows here -- words from Robert Fulghum:
"This is kind of personal. It may get a little syrupy, so watch out. It started as a note to my wife. And then I thought that since some of you might have husbands or wives (or life partners) and might feel the same way, I’d pass it along. I don’t own this story, anyway. Charles Boyer does.
You are the one who brings me rest
You are the music I sing
You are the world in which I live
You're my everlasting peace
My falling tears, my joyful heart,
My better self, my love
You, oh you my spirit
You, oh you my love.