Choir. Bingo!

It wasn’t time for Bingo yet.

The blazing Los Angeles summer sun scorched me as I sat on the hot pavement with my decade-old Martin & Co. six string in my lap. Several retirement-age men and women at the homeless shelter milled around – some half-heartedly playing cards and some sitting quietly in their wheelchair.

As worship leader for our church’s summer mission trip, I pulled out my pick and started to strum a little bit as my all-girls team sat around me in a half-circle. Once I found the key, I started to sing, opening with everyone’s favorite Christian worship song: “Amazing Grace” by Phil Wickham. By the time I got to the chorus, a small crowd had gathered. Soon, the 70-year-olds joined the 17-year-olds.

 

My team sang softly along with me and so did the older folks, humming or just listening with content smiles plastered to their faces. As I continued, their smiles brightened and their eyes never moved from us. At the end of a few songs, they clapped and encouraged me to continue.

But I ended the set and packed away my guitar satisfied. It was time for Bingo.

I started my seven-year choir journey in 6th grade. Looking back, I experienced priceless personal growth being surrounded by 50 girls in uncomfortable black-beaded gowns. Despite the four-hour rehearsals, almost passing out in our Winter concert and those pokey dresses, I wouldn’t trade a second of it.

You can’t delete one experience without deleting a little part of yourself.

My pre-choir self would’ve been paralyzed by the thought of leading worship in front of people. Any music-related fear you could have, I had: fear of singing alone, fear of a crowd, fear of people listening.

But after one too many auditions, in-front-of-class singing tests and solos at contest, all these fears have been replaced simply with a fundamental joy to make music. Even more importantly, I’ve learned how to share it.

While I still sing shamelessly in the shower and to serenade my roommate Brooke, I didn’t join a choir at Baylor. But I do recognize this: Choir molded me so I could fearlessly share the talents God has given me.

And I plan on doing just that – in any place, anytime, anywhere that puts a sparkle in someone’s eye, joy in their heart and a smile on their face.    

Especially if it gets people excited for Bingo.

Everyone needs a David

It’s hard to remember to eat.

This may sound alarming but let me premise with this: I don’t have an eating disorder. If anything, I have an adventure disorder that causes me to get caught up in the activities of life and forget to eat lunch.

My roommate Brooke and I are the same way, which is why we have a food-accountability system set up now. Our conversations go a little like this:

“Have you eaten today?”

“No. Have you?”

“Nope.”

And in goes the microwavable Easy Mac.

One Sunday I was coming back to the dorm from Highland Baptist Church. My friend and I didn’t eat out afterward and with a thin college kid budget, you can’t have both Common Grounds coffee and lunch out. So we chose coffee.

Which left me without an actual meal that day. So as I walked up to my room, I went through the polite “Hey, how are you? Good” routine with various dorm students milling around in the lobby.

And then came the question from my friend David Foo: “Have you eaten?”

“No …” and I proceeded to offer him my weak excuse of choosing caffeine over meaningful calories. So he marched into his room and brought out a box full of a college kid staple: ramen.

“Choose.”

So I picked out the standard chicken noodle ramen and he did it all: heated up the water, put the mix in, stirred in the noodles, set out a plate, put my spoon on a napkin. He even pulled out a chair for me to sit in and played my little Kala ukulele while I ate.

The next week, he did the same for Brooke.

In college, friendships matter. As iron sharpens iron, the people surrounding us have a profound impact on our lives. There is an old Spanish proverb: Show me who your friends are, and I’ll show you who you are. In all the little ways, and the big ones, Brooke and I have been blessed by and learned about community in college and we unanimously agree on this:

Everyone needs a David.