I am retiring.
Not from ministry and not from working, but retiring all the same. Last Sunday was my last day as a musical worship leader. Although I have been singing all of my life and have been involved in choirs of one sort or another almost since I could walk, I am no longer able to lead singing.
A year ago, I quit singing in the church choir because of my hearing loss. As I lost more high frequencies, I could no longer hear the sopranos, and the piano often sounded out of tune. I had always been able to “find” my note in the accompaniment several measures before my section began to sing, but as my hearing loss progressed I just couldn’t hear the notes. Even so, I have continued to sing in our church praise team. I could still hear well enough to find my pitch from the lead guitar standing next to me and since we were all singing the melody, I didn’t have to hear any harmony parts.
Knowing that my hearing continued to decline, I told Patti (my long suffering wife, as well as the leader of the praise team) that she had permission to fire me when I could no longer stay in tune or was making too many mistakes. That day came a couple weeks ago.
Even when all I do is sing the melody, it had been getting harder and harder to get it right. Much of the music that I “hear” I hear in my head and is not actually information that is coming from my ears. (Perhaps now, I better appreciate how Beethoven continued to compose long after he had gone deaf.) I can sing along, but whenever we make any changes to the music, in tempo or style, I continue to sing what I remember and not what the instruments are actually playing.
So, the time has come to let someone else lead.
I will still be here, and I will still sing along to the songs that I know but I just can’t do it well enough to be the leader.
So will I be back up front after I get my new cochlear implant?
But that is a subject for another day.