I have envy — calling envy. Yes, that’s a sin that’s endemic to Mormonism. Unlike some others, I don’t really want to be a bishop or a stake president of a general authority. I’m deeply jealous, however, of people who regularly get to participate in singing time.
Before we moved to California, I was the primary pianist for quote some time, and then the sort of de-facto primary pianist for even longer. I loved it. We had spirited games of Name That Tune, mad dashes through Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes (it is possible to get it under three seconds start-to-finish!), and bouncy renditions of Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam. Kids learned the unteachable and sang the unsingable (starting with the Articles of Faith songs). And there were beautiful moments of song – I Often Go Walking; When I am Baptized; I Lived in Heaven; A Child’s Prayer – when the Spirit filled the room. It was wonderful.
When we moved to California, I quickly acquired a new set of callings – Sunday School presidency, Elders Quorum instructor, choir accompanist, assistant Scout-something-er-other – but I didn’t land a calling in the Primary. Time went by. I got used to teaching lessons (which is pretty enjoyable) and accompanying the choir (which is also pretty enjoyable). But every now and then, I’m called on to substitute in Singing Time. Those weeks are wonderful, and they serve to nurture and keep alive my calling envy.
This week was one of those; Mardell is out of town, and I was directing Singing Time. It was, predictably, a blast. For Junior Primary, we started out teaching them the song, with a complicated but fun set of visual aids for My Heavenly Father Loves Me. Stephanie waved her little fan for “or the wind as it rushes by” and little Madeline – who was pointing to her eyes as our visual aid for “He gave me my eyes” – kept leaving the line and trying to wander off. After that, we did a bouncy set of Sunbeams, and then a run through Hopcorn Hopping (yes, that’s as chaotic as it sounds).
The seniors already knew all of their songs, so it was time for some fun, Jeopardy style. Four columns, five questions in each. There were some regular questions, as well as a number of “singing doubles” – double point questions where the primary also sang a song. “Name that Tune” was one of the four columns, and betweeen that and the singing doubles, we got all of our songs (and then some) in. It was a close race to the end, when the Nephi team put it away with a series of clutch answers ending on a singing double (Restoration for 500) where Daniel earned a cool 1000 points for the correct answer to “who were the four Heavenly messengers who restored the Priesthood?” And then we sang The Priesthood is Restored.
Yes, I definitely have calling envy. Next week I’ll be sitting in Sunday School and then teaching in Elders Quorum; the kids will be singing without me. But today, it occurred to me that if I can’t take myself to Singing Time, then perhaps I can take Singing Time with me. So I think I’ll start my next Elders Quorum lesson with a quick participatory rendition of Hopcorn Hopping. I’ll let you know how it goes.