I love eating at Chinese restaurants, and the best part is the fortune cookie that arrives at the end. They rarely contain a  real “fortune.”  However, those little pieces of paper usually contain more than a little kernel of truth for me.

I started saving each and every one when I was “railroaded” (or “called” as I felt at the time) to play keyboard for a church choir (not the kind of church that served Chinese food, or even traditional Lutheran food [Jello, casseroles, decaf] — the kind that served soul food, in a neighborhood to which Jimmy John’s would not deliver). This was the choir that ate up my life for a couple years. It was a difficult time for me. I was part of the band that accompanied the singers, and the whole experience made me loathe all music. I never turned to Scripture of any sort during that time. I turned to the little aforementioned paper fortunes, all of which I taped to my hymnal, feeling that they somehow validated the inevitability of the whole AFGO.

Here they all are, unedited. The first ones listed were the ones I got after I got asked to serve in this way, but before I actually started- when I felt that I needed a sign that I was doing the right thing:

Getting together with old friends brings new adventures. (indeed, most of the choir was old friends who had splintered off from another choir I had been involved in for years- where, in fact, Jack and I had first met.)

Do not hesitate to tackle the most difficult of problems.

You will obtain your goal if you maintain your course.

Your heart is pure, and your mind is clear.

You are good-natured, practical, and firm in your point of view (an attitude that kept me sane through many a difficult, “herding cats” type of rehearsal).

You will make many changes before settling satisfactorily. (Yes, I have changed churches twice since, and “auditioned” several others. I love the church we attend now. It is spiritually uplifting, more diversethan I could have expected, and I actually look forward to Sunday mornings now.)

Good things come in small packages. You will be delighted.  (The choir was indeed tiny, but certainly not delightful.)

Keep up the good work. You will be rewarded.  (In Heaven, I assume. Certainly not on Earth.)

You have a charming way with words. Send (sic) email to a friend. (Flurries of emails asking for help in one way or another, was more like it).
The world is always ready to receive talent with open arms. (Especially when it is free for the using).

We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give. (And yes, I had given a lot).

You will soon have an opportunity to advance your career. (I got a few [stipend] paid church music gigs before and after quitting this choir, and some that were not paid but were fun, enjoyable, and even spiritually uplifting).

Your love life will be happy and harmonious. (An obvious outlyer: this choir was neither happy nor harmonious, so this one must have been about Jack and me.)

You have a potential urge and the ability for accomplishment.

You are able to juggle many tasks. (Like pages and pages of sheet music, and an unruly tenor section- and a drummer who liked to drink early-morning booze out of a “coffee” cup).

You will inherit a large sum of money from an unusual source. (see “opportunity to advance your career,” above.  Not large.  Just…larger.).

Like I said earlier, I have indeed found happiness after leaving this situation: I love my current church.  Jack and I feel at home there.  I like the pastor, the people, the fellowship that occurs after every service. I like the strong Christ-centered message in every sermon. I like the way that so many talented musicians praise from the heart each Sunday- there is different “special music” almost every week, whether it is one or more brass players, the choir, a grade-school kid playing the piano during the offertory, whatever. Jack even got to play his timpani on Easter. I love how people with disabilities are welcomed and encouraged to stay involved. I love how the pastor and the vicar each have already visited us at our house. I feel like after so many years of searching- twenty years, really- that Jack and I have finally found a church home that we both like- and nobody has accused me yet of having a pity party.

So what if I found truth in the fortunes baked into random cookies?  Truth is truth, evenwhen it is found in the unlikeliest of places.

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