Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Sign and Symbol

When I worked at camp, one of our habits in closing staff meeting was to share "God moments". (Cheesy you say? Granola? Well, duh- I did say this was camp!) Anyway, these moments were often times when people were particularly moved by a song sung at the right time, kind words from a friend that were much needed, or caught off-guard by the beauty of nature. This past Sunday morning, on my way to church, I remembered that practice because I had a similar amazing moment. I was running late (not out of the ordinary when I'm supposed to be somewhere before 9am), and I was a bit stressed. I was flipping radio stations, and I caught the end of a church-sounding piece in Latin, so I stayed with the station. A preacher's voice came on, and I don't remember exactly what he said, but it was exactly what I needed to hear. It also served as an introduction to a recording of Randall Thompson's setting of "Choose Something Like a Star" from his Frostiana pieces. I sang this piece back in high school, for a state choir honors program. While I was listening, I looked up, and somehow, the sun and whatever mositure was left in the seriously-too-cold-air had created a faint rainbow over Lake Shore Drive. I was surrounded by gorgeous music, beautiful sights, and wonderful memories. I did make it to service in time, and with a lighter, more grateful spirit than I might have imagined possible this weekend. And that, my friends, is what we camp folk call a "God moment".

Choose Something Like A Star
O Star (the fairest one in sight),
We grant your loftiness the right
To some obscurity of cloud --
It will not do to say of night,
Since dark is what brings out your light.
Some mystery becomes the proud.
But to be wholly taciturn
In your reserve is not allowed.

Say something to us we can learn
By heart and when alone repeat.
Say something! And it says "I burn."
But say with what degree of heat.
Talk Fahrenheit, talk Centigrade.
Use language we can comprehend.
Tell us what elements you blend.

It gives us strangely little aid,
But does tell something in the end.
And steadfast as Keats' Eremite,
Not even stooping from its sphere,
It asks a little of us here.
It asks of us a certain height,
So when at times the mob is swayed
To carry praise or blame too far,
We may choose something like a star
To stay our minds on and be staid.
-Robert Frost, 1947

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