Barbara's Random Thoughts

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Trading My Sorrows

This post brought to you from Barbara's archive of half-completed posts.

My first introduction to this song was when our church choir did the worship musical Jesus, the One and Only at Easter one year. Our music directors picked a song from the musical to begin using in worship about a month before the performance. And guess what song they picked? Sigh. This tends to happen to me. The song I like least will end up getting highlighted in some way. It's as if it's planned. Hey, Barbara hates this song; let's beat her over the head with it!

I made my dislike of the song known. Paul and Sarah laughed at me and used it anyway.

The arrangement of the song used in the musical called for a soloist (Paul) and a trio. One of the women in the trio got sick about a week and a half before the performance. Paul asked me to take her place. Very funny, Paul. I told him I wasn't sure if I could pull it off...I might have trouble memorizing the words. Repeating "We say yes, we say yes, we say yes..." eight million times might just be beyond my memorization capability. He laughed at me and I sang with the trio. Yet again, Barbara's least favorite song rule comes into play.

In the middle of all of this, Paul was going through some intense cancer treatments. He was weak enough that he had trouble standing to direct the choir for more than a couple of songs in a row. Sarah stepped in when she could, but there wasn't any way Paul was giving up directing the musical. That was Paul for you.

One of my most vivid memories from those two nights of performances is of Paul singing that solo on Trading My Sorrows. I still can't stand the song. But I can't shake the memory of Paul standing there, weakened from his cancer treatments, and still singing strong: "I'm trading my sickness, I'm trading my pain, I'm laying them down for the joy of the Lord."

Its endless repetitions aside, I've always felt that the style of this song trivializes the words. The words talk about sorrow, shame, sickness--and yes, about trading those for the joy of the Lord--but the reality of those things are trivialized by the happy, peppy, sing-song tune. But that night, those lyrics meant something, coming from a man whose body was being ravaged by an aggressive cancer and the side effects of equally aggressive cancer treatments.

So now, thanks to Paul, I can't hate the song without reservations. Because it will always remind me of him and of his courage to face whatever came his way with faith and with boldness, for God's glory.
| posted by Barbara | 9:44 PM