If Nobody Sings Along…

Chrisette Michele, a phenomenal singer/songwriter, has a new album out titled LET FREEDOM REIGN and on the album there is a song called “If Nobody Sang Along.” In this song, she discusses having an audience to appreciate her work and wondering if the absence of that audience would affect her desire to tell her story… She resolves that when everything is said and done, it’s about the possibility of affecting someone’s world simply because she told her story that drives her to sing regardless…

As a playwright, the answer has to be ‘yes’, as well, otherwise, we would hardly get anything done.   What determines art – productions, readings or simply creating it?  How much stuff going wrong stops or trips you up?  For most of us, we write because we must and the obstacles work their way into and through our stories.  We answer those questions again and again as we endure…  We stand and fight for ourselves as we press through those moments of weakness.  Exhaustion wrapped ‘round our shoulders, we sit once more at the computer or pad and pen and write — something, anything, as long as it is story…

Years ago, at a church that I attended in the Midwest, the young ministers were given time on Sundays to preach from 3 – 5 pm (in the basement of the church).  Service attendance at that time of the day was usually slack; it was in the middle of the day when everyone was at home relaxing before returning for the 7 pm evening service or if they did return to the church early, they would be upstairs talking to other church members.  Most of the time the young ministers would cancel their service because no one showed up or if there were less than 5 people. There was one minister, a Minister Tom Carey, however, who would start preaching to an empty room.  He would preach as if the room was full, as if there was no tomorrow.  And, this brother who stuttered sometimes would preach stutter free.  You could hear him from the stairwell; it would draw you right down those stairs and into a seat.  We asked him why he would preach to an empty room and he would say, “God’s here.  I had something to say.” or “The Word is good all the time, even in a room with no people.”  (I paraphrase from memory.)  After a while, his services would be packed; his gift had made room for him even when nobody was singing along… 

I think about Minister Carey when I am up in the wee hours of the morning typing away at a story knowing my gift is making room for me, knowing God’s here and I have something to say, knowing that even in an empty room, my story is relevant and that I will always sing regardless of whether or not anyone sings along…

2 Comments

  • By Nancy Beverly, March 11, 2011 @ 2:21 pm

    Loved that story Minister Tom and that we tell our stories even when we’re the only one in the room. Well, us and God 🙂

  • By Robin Byrd, March 11, 2011 @ 4:38 pm

    Thanks, Nancy. I was having my “Me and God” moment when I was writing this morning… Out of all my “get me through” notes; it’s the memory of Tom Carey that always does the trick.

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