instead of me

Hope has been part of the Youth Chorale of the Fort Wayne Children’s Choir for three years, younger choirs, for four more years. In those seven years, she has never heard the choir she was part of sing.

We’ve been in the audience, of course, listening, cheering (silently), moved. But Hope has always been on the platform.

hope watchingUntil Tuesday night. Tuesday night, her choir sang and she sat with us, in the audience, watching her friends singing a practice concert before they head to Newfoundland to be part of a wonderful choir festival.

She’s not going.

Music is core to her, music is how she expresses herself, music is Hope. This last year she was part of more choirs and ensembles and events than I can count. She loves it.

So why is she sitting in the audience?

Last fall she had to decide what to do this summer. She looked at the tour with the choir (which originally was to Europe). A wonderful time. Fabulous opportunity.

She decided to go to West Virginia instead.

Hurricane, West Virginia, doesn’t have cathedrals. No festival choir, no orchestra. Just a work camp with about 400 people  meeting to scrape paint, and paint walls and help people.


Because although music is Hope, the music has to come from somewhere. And for her, last fall, it came from a choice to do something that wouldn’t be for her. She talked with God. They decided to go to West Virginia.

She’s a good kid. But she’s not the only one who makes choices every day to serve other instead of self. You’ve done it. I’ve done it. A bunch of guys a couple hundred years ago did it. One guy a couple thousand years ago did it.

Sometimes those choices cost us our comfort. Sometimes they cost our lives. And sometimes we sit and listen to the music that we could have been singing and think, “I miss that.”

And then we get up and go back to work with a smile, knowing that it would have been fun. But so is changing the world.


5 responses to “instead of me

  1. Sounds like Hope is making some good choices. That bodes well for the future.

    Eternal vs. temporary – sometimes a hard choice but always worth it to choose the former.

  2. During my days a sub., I had Hope in a health class. Out of the 30 or so students, she was the one only that worked on her assignment quietly, and followed direct appropriately. You truly have a wonderful daughter!

  3. I just returned from a mission trip to New Orleans with my 17YO daughter. I wasn’t really planning to go, but at the last minute, they needed another driver and I have plenty of vacation time available. The pieces all fell into place for me to go, as if the Lord was orchestrating events to make it possible. The result was an amazing experience that will be with me forever. Most impressive: The college students from YouthWorks at our hostel in N.O. who made a choice to give up their summers to serve the needs of others. God bless them. Also impressive: the stories of people who are making a difference there, against all odds. And the hundreds of volunteers who are still streaming into the city every week, to help with the long, gradual rebuilding process. God is doing a GREAT work there.

    It’s great to see Hope and so many other young people giving of themselves to help others in this way. God is good!

  4. Chuck – thanks for this update on you and on the work in NO. I think that our kids are way more interested in making a huge difference than people give them credit…or opportunity…for.

  5. Indeed – I was inspired at how hard the kids in our group worked. For 2 days, we were painting a house in 102 degree heat and 100% humidity. They were real troopers!

    And thanks for the great work you’re doing with the Levite Chronicles (which I discovered thanks to Chris Brogan). It’s awesome to see someone blogging about how to bring God more into our daily lives!