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All writing is a form of prayer - John Keats

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

…in the same way you judge others, you will be judged. Matthew 7

She wasn’t the best singer in the choir. To the frustration of the choir director, her attendance was uncertain and irregular. Her voice of marginal quality and her dismal attendance record prompted other singers to grumble behind her back. Through it all, however, they tolerated her participation and she remained a choir member for several years. 

That was long ago, according to the choir’s librarian, with whom I recently spoke. 

Apparently, while still a member of the choir, the woman had taken some music home with her and neglected to return it. My friend was asked by the choir director to pay a visit to the former singer and get it back. 

His lack of enthusiasm for the task took a dramatic turn upon his arrival at her home. 

The former choir member promptly retrieved copies of the anthems, but wanted to chat. She couldn’t stop talking about how much that choir experience meant to her. No one realized that she was going through a most difficult time back then…loss of husband, plus family and financial problems. Even though she couldn’t attend every choir rehearsal, music---as it always does---provided immeasurable healing! 

In telling the story, my friend gets tears in his eyes. He, the choir director and the singers had gotten it all wrong. Their feelings and opinions about this singer were based on inadequate data. While they were secretly grumbling, the choir was doing exactly what it was created to do. The choral experience was a source of personal faith, restoration and encouragement…this time for the singer, not just the audience. 

And I get to thinking about just how often you and I do the very same thing! 

We have such stereotypical views and opinions about prisoners. (They’re in there for a reason! If they hadn’t done the crime, they wouldn’t be doing the time!) And yet, as our team members work with the incarcerated and communicate with them, we learn so much more about their lives, and discover that there are many sides to every story. 

“We never see the full picture. We cannot know a person’s life and challenges at a glimpse.

We never hear the full story. We cannot grasp a person’s viewpoint through mere words.

We never feel the full pain. We cannot perceive a person’s heart and mind in a conversation.”

― Richelle E. Goodrich 

Let me leave the judging to you, dear Jesus. Mary Fairchild

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