Playdates with God: Music Camp

In the morning, moisture spools on the glass and unwinds in thready rivulets down the pane. All week the sky presses in on us heavy. Life presses heavy too and I wait for rain—feel my insides brittle. I am so thirsty. It’s this mothering and the teaching the hard lessons that parches this week.
Because all week…he doesn’t want to go.
I drop him off at music camp on Monday and he is bubbling over with excitement. He doesn’t care so much about the singing but he wants to play the drums and this boy is always up for a new adventure.
Only it doesn’t go so well the first day. He cries the whole way home when I pick him up and he doesn’t have any friends there and no matter how he tries to be friendly they all know each other and won’t make room for him and it’s all chaos. Just standing around in the sanctuary.
“It’s only the first day,” I say. “Give it a chance.
The next days I drop him off and drive the long way to work along the river. The water glows in morning sun and a dry breeze makes ripples in the light. I drive past old sternwheelers with chipped up paint, past ugly factories and littered riverbank. But it’s the shine that keeps drawing my eye.

How do we make it past the ugly if we don’t set our eyes on the shine?
Sunday night comes with dread but he wears the t-shirt and we put on our smiles to go see.
There is much milling about and so many small shining faces but I pick him out of the crowd and my eyes are only for him. The preacher comes in and welcomes everyone and then he prays and then he says this:
“Tonight we will know that Lord has been here with us.
There is the mini-concert with all the plinky piano players. The Orff class with their sing-songy xylophone numbers. The interpretive dancers and scripture readers and responsive reading and the singing of hymns. And the way those young voices lift takes my heart on a joyride. The earnest way they give, the way she touches her heart and lifts her arms, the way he keeps going despite a dropped line. A little boy sits in the choir loft and rolls his eyes, sticks out his tongue. A toddler runs out of control up and down the pew aisle. And we are all here together, praising.

Our boy plays with the handbell choir. As I watch him in his white gloves, counting out the notes, turning the pages of the music…my heart swells.
I see the shine.

And we all know it. We know that the Lord is here with us.

How about you? How do you embrace the God-joy? Every Monday I’ll be sharing one of my Playdates with God. I would love to hear about yours. It can be anything: outside, quiet time. Maybe it’s solitary. Maybe it’s loud and crowded. Just find Him. Be with Him. And come tell us about it.

Grab my button at the bottom of the page and join us:

Sharing with L.L. Barkat today also:

On In Around button

Looking for a good summer read? Join us over at The High Calling for our new book club–which continues today–on Luci Shaw’s Breath for the Bones: Art, Imagination, and Spirit: Reflections on Creativity and Faith.


  1. says

    Oh, I know just what he went through. Except I never cried or expressed myself to my mother…
    And! Hand bells and chimes! I’ve played those before. Beeyoooteeeeful.

  2. says

    I have thought so much about your playdates with God–why don’t I play? But I do, and it’s music. When my kids play or sing, I am over the moon. I don’t pray when I run because I’m too busy singing. It’s music. So glad you found it and played.

  3. says

    Gosh my heart was breaking with yours. But he made it through! Praise the Lord. I remember not fitting in and not wanting to go to camps when I was younger. It is hard. Music is medience to the sole. I never did play an instrument but have tried singing and it is a noise a joyful one. Im so glad all worked out.
    Praising the Lord!

  4. says

    Today is study day. I get to sit in my car, put on a CD, and relish the peace of no people, reading books, learning, and then, I will heave a big sigh, turn off the CD, and walk back into work, rested.

  5. says

    Such a struggle for the child and the mom when being left out causes such pain and worry. So glad y’all pushed through so you could see the shine.

  6. says

    i have felt your thirst ..the parched moments of mothering ..that is the part that no one can explain but you have so beautifully in those words ..

    what a lovely series of photos today ..

  7. says

    Smile. I wish we could have chatted. . . similar experience with a dance intensive here. I’m hoping it’s an honor that they can be real and share their emotions as needed. Smiles to your boy for perseverance and eventual joy and all that worship to the One somehow refining us through it all.

  8. says

    I’ve been there as a mom, with one of my own in a similar situation. Glad he (and you!) made it through.
    I remember playing handbells when I was in youth choir; fun!

  9. says

    Praise the Lord that Music camp turned out blessed. All those mistakes by the young ones, are also fun and we smile along with their parents who are proud! You have a handsome son and he is growing in God just by participating and staying with it.

  10. says

    As the proud momma of two musicians, one of them a drummer, and both of whom have felt left out at times, I could so relate to this post Laura. And I could relate to your emotions at having to push him to go into the hard places, the unwelcoming places, and make music anyway. It’s so hard, but so important–you did good Mom!! You helped him find strength he didn’t know he had–he’ll need it lots of times as he grows, and eventually he’ll know how much you did for him. Blessings on you both–you both had hard jobs and you both did them well!! Hugs!

  11. says

    I’ve been the child who didn’t want to go and I’ve been the mama who insisted.

    Thank you for drawing it so beautifully here, Laura. And these photos of the children offering praise? Treasures.

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