Aimee's Daily Notes: Dec. 8, 2012
It was a beautiful day and an amazing experience singing with wonderful voices for our seniors today at the Arbor House, a nursing home for seniors with Alzheimers.
What was so amazing was that the seniors sang along with us! As they remembered familiar Christmas tunes, they sang quietly with us. At one point, one of the seniors who sang along, started crying. "It is tears of joy." Melissa from the Arbor House said, while comforting the senior.
Many thanks to Shelly Hines for letting her daughter Morgan join us and singing today. What a beautiful voice! I highly recommend everyone go do something special this Christmas and make a difference.
It was a tough day at the start. When we did our Christmas Carol last year for Arbor House, we had four choir members from various local churches. This year everyone was busy and that is understandable at this time of the year.
However, when I checked with everyone if they wanted to sing Christmas Carols again this year, they said yes. When I booked it, looking at the calendar, this past Saturday, Dec. 8th, was the only available one on my schedule.
After I booked it and made the commitment to event, several of them in our little group said, "Sorry, I'm busy." Another one is out of town. And from the rest of them, no answer.
I enjoy singing and have been a cantor. I don't mind to sing alone. However, Christmas Caroling is supposed to be a group event. That's how I know it.
This was Saturday morning, an hour before we were to start our Christmas Caroling, we still didn't have a choir.
This morning, we had a special mass to sing. It was the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. We had a nice size choir singing this morning.
After singing the special mass, I asked those who sang if they would join me caroling at a nearby nursing home. They said no. Some were busy. Some had to go back to work.
Interestingly, this morning, as I was driving on the same old familiar road in the church parking lot, all the parking spaces in front of the exit of the church were all filled, except one, the one that is closest to the church exit where I would come out after singing.
So, I parked my car there. It is a spot where I normally wouldn't be parking at. It was a complete opposite direction from where I normally would park my car. And interestingly, I got a very nice spot that I normally couldn't get. I thought I was pretty lucky to get that spot right in front of the church exit.
Still deep in thought, wondering to myself, "What else can I do? Who else can I ask?"
Well, luckily, a few weeks ago, when I attended our regular weekly networking at a local Chamber, just that day, the format was slightly different.
They asked everyone to add something to their 30 second commercial. We were asked to tell something about ourselves that people in the room didn't know about.
Well, when my turn came up, I told them that I organize an acappella choir to sing Christmas Carols to the seniors in a nursing home. I mentioned that we would be singing at the Arbor House, who also is a member of the Chamber. And if any one wished to join us, let me know.
Shelley Hines came up telling me her daughter sings beautiful. I thanked Shelley. Then, another person came up and said she was interested, but might be busy.
It is Saturday morning, the day that we are scheduled for our Caroling. I might or might not have Shelley's daughter to sing with us. Anything can come up. As a rule of thumb, we always plan for back-ups.
See, I'm a strong believe that if something is not part of God's plan, it won't happen. And if it does happen, it is His plan that we're part of.
At that time, just about an hour before our committed Caroling, I had no one to join me. I prayed that Shelley's daughter would show up. I think she would, or otherwise, Shelley will let me know. However, with being turned down left and right this whole week by everyone, I was not too sure what was going to happen and who would show up to sing.
Nonetheless, I kept my faith and prayed about it. After the choir, who sang at this Saturday morning mass, said no, I really didn't know who else to ask.
Wondering to myself, "What is this? This is Christmas, right? It is a season of given and sharing, right? But no one would go out of their way to help out or even spare an hour of their busy schedule (I'm booked solid left and right around the clock) to make a difference in someone else life? I was puzzled and frazzled. Of course, I maintained calm composure and kept thinking.
Many times, God is at work and I didn't know it. :-) He has a plan and I did not pay attention to it, because I was too busy worrying. Though I think I wasn't worrying, I think I was trying to convince myself otherwise.
While I was deep in thought and still wondering what to do, while I was comforting myself inside that it was okay if this was going to be a one-person Caroling choir, though it would be a little embarrassing for not able to get a choir commitment, but I still could sing by myself if I needed to do so.
As I was walking to my car, I saw my friend, a teenager, who normally sings with us. She was with her family. They were walking towards the same direction where I parked my car. What do I have to lose. Everyone said no to me about caroling for the seniors. So I thought of asking one more time.
"Hey, would you like to go sing Christmas Carol with me?" I asked my teenage friend.
She turned to her mom. Her mom asked when is the Christmas Carol.
"in one hour." I replied. "Wanna come? You too," I said to the mom, "Come sing with us."
They seemed excited. The mom turned to the younger daughter and said, "Do you want to go too?"
Oh my Lord! I said to myself. This is wonderful! I stayed cheerful and calm. Meanwhile, I was excited!
The younger daughter said yes. Mom was busy and will pick them up afterward. I was excited to have two persons to sing with me! Ah! I was so excited!
I thanked the mom. I looked for the father to thank him too, but saw him already went to their car that was parked one car away from where my car was parked. (!)
Got to the Arbor House. We reviewed the music in our binders. While rehearsing, Morgan came in! That's Shelley's daughter. Morgan has a beautiful voice. So, we decided to sing two songs as a group and close it with one solo by Morgan for each round of singing. There were four houses in the Arbor House to carol to.
Melissa came in and guided us to various houses to sing. At the first house, we did two songs as a group. Morgan closed it with a solo, 'Walking In The Winter Wonderland".
The seniors were having their lunch. They sang along softly.
Then we went to the second house. Same thing, the seniors were singing softly with us. Then, when we get to the second song, one of the seniors started crying. Melissa was comforting her asking if she was happy. The senior replied in tears and knodding her head as saying yes. Morgan closed it with a solo at this second house.
We then went to the third house. We sang and we thank them. As I remember, I thought that was it, three houses. Melissa said, "We have one more house for you to sing in." So, we followed her.
In this house, there were seniors eating, almost done. Melissa whispered to me that there were a few more seniors coming and that we might need to sing a few more songs if I don't mind.
"No, I don't mind." I replied.
I asked the girls if they mind to sing a few more songs. They didn't mind either. We waited a little. After a few minutes, Melissa gave us the okay to start singing.
We sang one song after another. As we sang, I noticed more and more seniors started to come in. They were coming in from everywhere, it seemed. We kept singing and there were, not only more seniors were coming in, but those who were already there, started dancing with each other in pairs. Another one, she started playing piano for us. Oh Wow! Then, out from nowhere, a male voice joined in singing with us. I turned around and it was one of the staff. I invited him to sing with us. And so, we ended up with five singers! We sang all the songs on our list, plus a solo from Morgan.
We closed it with "We Wish You A Merry Christmas". Guess what? Yup, they were all singing with us and clapping their hands while laughing.
It was a wonderful experience. We walked out and thanked Morgan, my friend, her sister and the staff who sang with us. It was a beautiful day. It turned out better than I thought.
When we got back in the car, my friend told me that she was crying. "What happened?" I asked.
She said the whole experience was very touching. She cried when she saw the seniors started singing with us, especially the one who was crying. She realized that she had truly made a difference and did something very special for them.
I thanked her and her sister for coming and sang with me and Morgan.
God was trying to give me a message, but I was too busy to listen. He was trying to lead me to His way, but I was too busy running around trying to do it my way. I didn't know God has a plan in this Christmas Carol 2012 for me and for those who were part of the event.
Looking back in time, we made a difference in many lives in one hour, in one day. It was a wonderful experience. I was mesmerized for the rest of the day. Even when I was singing at the 5pm mass, I was day dreaming about what had happened that morning.