There's a little girl whose parents bring her and her baby brother to the 12:00 Mass every Sunday. They've started sitting near the folk group, and she keeps her eyes firmly on the musicians.
One recent Sunday, she escaped from the pew during Communion and her mom had to chase her as she ran up to the altar. After that Mass, a bunch of us told her embarrassed parents that they shouldn't worry about it, and that they shouldn't stop bringing her to Mass. It would get better. We're all parents too, and we've had our share of embarrassing kids-in-church moments.
Yesterday, there they were, in their usual spot. But the little girl did not arrive at church empty-handed. Besides her little pink purse, she had a tiny pink gig bag. Her dad placed it carefully at the edge of the pew. It looked like a very, very small guitar case, and we all whispered to each other before Mass that the little girl was here and that she'd brought her own guitar.
Of course, we were completely charmed by that idea. I was wondering how long it would take for her to break out the guitar and abandon her parents in the pew for the folk group across the aisle.
She left her gig bag alone during Mass (amazingly) but afterwards her dad helped her unzip it, to reveal the cutest little pink ukelele. She let Little Brother try to play it.
More than just a cute and sweet moment, though, this tells me something: despite the liturgical-music snobbery that "folk-groupies" like myself often encounter, what we do has the power to touch lives. That little girl, no more than three years old, clearly wanted to play music in church. She sees us do that, she likes it, and she wants to do the same.
Church music doesn't have to be written before the turn of the 20th century to be inspiring. There's a little girl in our parish who has found herself inspired by the music we play each Sunday. It's not everyone's favorite, but it has touched her heart. I hope that in a few years, this little girl finds that she has a musical gift, and looks for a way to use that gift to honor God and serve others.