As I sat in the crowded gym that Tuesday night, listening to the chorus sing "Alleluia" without me for the first time in seven years, I suddenly realized why I had been suffering such a horrible senior year. Chorus was the spiritual aspect of my life, and this aspect had been neglected. Student government, drama, cheering - these were things I did, but chorus was much more.
In Emily Dickinson's "Some Keep the Sabbath Going to Church," she says that some people practice their religion in a church with other people, but she prefers to worship alone in her orchard. Like Emily, I prefer to practice a religion somewhere other than a church. It is my own religion.
I joined the chorus in sixth grade, and it made a lasting impact. I soon found that chorus, not church, filled my spiritual needs. Standing with thirty to forty other kids around a piano, letting the music fill my soul and pouring it out in a voice that could give people shivers was my way of worship. It was in chorus that I found solace on bad days and ecstatic thrill on good ones. No-thing could replace the feeling, or if it could, I hadn't found it yet.
Listening to the beginning strains of "Silent Night," I suddenly understood so many things. I understood why I never seemed to have enough time even though I spent my lunch hours wandering, looking for something I should be doing. I understood why math seemed impossible to grasp even though it had been one of my better subjects in past years. And I understood that the void that had been left in my life was not just from an ended relationship.
By leaving chorus, I had forsaken the spiritual aspect of my life; without it, I was miserable.
As I sat on the wooden bleachers that night, my turtleneck and long-sleeved shirt could not protect me from the cold chill that made my body shake in an involuntary shudder. The music forcibly entered my soul, fighting through layers of trivial things I had covered its space with. This was the reason I found listening so painful. The music, the spiritual part of me, should not have been so easily pushed out of my life and covered with things to fill in the gap.
The chorus neared the end - my favorite song, "Oh, Holy Night" - and I allowed the tears to course freely down my cheeks. I wiped them away as the room echoed with applause. "Thank you," I silently told the performers. "Thank you for giving me hope." -
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.