Hoofprints of the Stag

Hoofprints of the Stag

Monday, January 25, 2016

On Beaming

When I was a youth, I remember reading books where the author used the word 'beam' as a verb, as in, "So-and-so was beaming," or "So-and-so beamed at so-and-so."  As I write this, I am almost sure that somewhere in the Harry Potter series it says, "Hagrid beamed at Harry," or "Hagrid was beaming," but I can't be sure (cue furious searches by HP nerds).  When I first encountered this phrase, I had no idea what it meant, but of course the context led me to understand that it meant that the person was proud in some way or very happy and appeared to be showing it.  I always thought it was sort of a strange phrase because the concept itself seemed quite foreign to me.  I concluded that this was because I had never experienced this feeling, though at the same time I wondered if I had indeed experienced it but without realizing it. The dictionary defines it as 'to smile radiantly,' which made sense on some level, I guess, but I always got the feeling there was more to it than that and that perhaps I just couldn't understand what it was.

As I've mentioned in a previous blog post (found here: Back to the Future: Reflecting on Personal Change), I used to characterize myself as somewhat emotionally crippled (though no longer), and so it was always interesting to me to feel emotions more strongly or to experience new ones. Many years ago, I was in the bridal party for my older brother's wedding. I remember that during the ceremony I couldn't help but smile really big and I felt very proud of my brother in that moment. Literally, as I was smiling, I realized and thought to myself, "Hey, I'm beaming right now! This is what beaming is!" That sounds really stupid to me as I write it out, but that is pretty much literally what I was thinking. I understood better the definition, "smile radiantly." It was like I was radiating light through my smile, like beams of light were shooting out of my countenance, like I was indeed beaming light from my very being.

I have found in more recent years that the thing that makes me radiantly beam with joy is to sing, especially to sing epic music in an epic choir. If you know me, then you know I love the choir of the Cathedral of the Madeleine in Salt Lake City and the Madeleine Choir School. I sang some very wonderful epic music with them for four years before having to leave them behind to go to seminary. I suppose people might not understand why the choir is so important to me, and perhaps to some degree I don't understand completely either. I think it is because it converges on three important factors: 1) I love to sing, 2) I am actually good at it, and 3) we sing for God. When you are good at something you love, it can't help but be important to you. I think this is why I get so excited when I sing with the choir school or with any choir, really. It makes me feel truly alive, like I'm doing what I was made to do. And of course, there's that quote by St. Irenaeus which says, "The glory of God is man fully alive." I do indeed feel fully alive when I sing, and I hope that by it I can radiate the glory of God to those around me. 

As I write this, there is still one more service and one more concert for the choir. And you can bet that I will be "smiling radiantly" throughout. I will be fully alive, beaming the glory of God. 

1 comment:

  1. You are a gifted writer as well as a beautiful singer, Luke. I miss our days at Judge and the delightful conversations. You are an extraordinary man and I am honored to share a part of your journey. Sending you my love and continued prayers. Lynde