Friday, October 3, 2008

Spiritual Lessons from 'Young @ Heart'

When most of us think of choir music that inspires, we probably envision flowing robes, beautiful harmonies, and songs written centuries ago. But a group of senior citizens in New England is a choir of a different kind. They sing disco, pop, and rock, and they perform all over the country as the 'Young @ Heart' choir.

And while some of them may not have the greatest voices, and some may not have the greatest dance moves, they make up for whatever they lack in raw talent with determination, courage, and enthusiasm to become a living embodiment of the spiritual principle of "different gifts" and "different kinds of service" that come together for one purpose (I Corinthians 12: 4-6).

Twentieth Century Fox DVD release "Young @ Heart" documents this unusual group of singers as they prepare for a concert. It's not just memorizing lyrics that can be a challenge. The individual members join together in strength and weakness, good times and bad times, to use their talent to become an inspiring celebration that touches the lives of others.

And the first lesson is....

Community Keeps us Spiritually Healthy - and Young!

By participating in the Young @ Heart choir, the men and women in this group create a special bond of friendship with each other, but more importantly, their unique brand of entertainment brings them into contact with the world around them.

They establish connections with young men in a prison who are touched by the courage and heart of these senior citizens and both the choir and the inmates are better for the exchange.

Even if we're not up for singing and dancing on stage - or at a prison - we all can use our own gifts and abilities to connect with and serve those in our community in a new way.

There's No Time Like the Present

We've all heard it before: Carpe diem. Seize the day. Live in the moment. It's easy to say, but difficult to put into practice. But the truth that we don't know what tomorrow brings is brought home in this documentary by the fragility of the choir members and by the sudden loss of one of their own. In spite of the painful loss, the show does go on, because the choir members realize this moment is all they really have.

Make Me Laugh!

Laughter really is the best medicine, as the Young @ Heart choir members prove over and over again. They laugh at their ailments, they make fun of each other's shortcomings, and in the process, find emotional and spiritual healing in the joy and laughter of the Young @ Heart experience.It's a great reminder that we always have a choice when we are having a rotten day: we can grumble and complain - or we can laugh about it!

I Can Do That!

How many of us are afraid to try something new for fear we might look foolish? The older we get, the more likely we are to want to stay in our comfort zones, but the Young @ Heart choir proves inner growth and renewal are possible at any age. Though they may be outwardly growing older, the choir is renewed mentally and invigorated spiritually by the challenges they face daily - even in learning tricky new songs like "Yes We Can Can." Is there something you have been longing to try but you just haven't gotten up the courage to try? Just remember that yes, you can can!

Raise Your Voice

Part of the emotional impact of the movie comes from the fact that this group of senior citizens sings rock songs written by artist much younger than they are.

Yet the life wisdom of the choir's members gives these songs a haunting and unique twist as the members find their own truth in such songs as Coldplay's "Fix You" or the Ramones' "I Will Survive.

"For all of us, believing our hard-earned life wisdom is a gift we can share with the next generation is important because it gives us a sense of spiritual purpose and hope. We simply need to shed our insecurity about speaking up!

Embrace the Gray!

In a youth-obsessed society where plastic surgery is becoming the norm and advertisers often prey on our fear of aging, the Young @ Heart choir embraces every gray hair, wrinkle, and creak of the bones!

The greatest gift the Young @ Heart choir gives its audience is their living testimony that embracing our age - whatever it is - with its benefits as well as its limitations, is far more liberating than living in fear of a number.

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