LOVE LIFTED ME
We’d practiced "Love Lifted Me" in GAs until it sounded reasonably good. Well, Anna sounded good. I suppose it was expected since she was the preacher’s daughter and honestly blessed with an angelic voice. She carried any number the trio performed.
This time, however, it was a quartet. The choir director had reluctantly invited me to join—I guess she felt it was her moral duty to include me while knowing I couldn't sing.
But I would do for a Sunday night service when the pews were mostly empty. I wasn’t nervous really, even though I’d never sang in front of an audience. And I had forgotten about my bouts of hysteria.
Now, these little fits weren’t debilitating. Just brief and inappropriate responses to stressful situations. Like when my dad fell from the ladder and caught his foot in the rung. He was swinging by his sickled ankle, and all I could do was laugh. He grew angry, livid even, screaming at me to help, but I rolled on the ground in hilarious convulsions. My stepmom finally came out to check on the noise.
However, I wasn’t thinking about my dad or hysteria or much of anything when we took the stage to sing. But when I glanced at the faces in the crowd, most of them kind and most of them smiling, a wave of nausea fell over me. I began to wobble. I couldn’t breathe, much less sing.
But then I noticed no one else was singing either. The pianist had played an extra bar in the intro and caused a false start. Anna righted the ship, of course, picking up mid-verse. But it was too late for me. The giggles had begun.
I bowed my head and tried to silence them. But the more I tried, the more I laughed. The more I laughed, the redder I got, so I turned to face the baptistry. My howling grew unstoppable, and I sank to the floor.
I crawled behind the pulpit while the others kept singing. And kept laughing until I cried.
Love lifted me! Love lifted me! When nothing else could help, love lifted me!