Dr. Eldred Marshall, Artist-in-Residence, Associate Director of Music Ministries

I feel like I’m finally coming off this constant background hum of a low-grade depression that has bedeviled me since March. Six months.

I’m not going to mince words. This was a rough spring and summer for me.

Six months without concerts, in-person church service, our wonderful Chancel Choir, the talented Pure Joy! Youth Choir, or a congregation to lead in rousing hymns of the faith has affected my psyche more than I ever admitted publicly.

Furthermore, recording for church online worship affected me just as much, as I’m uber-perfectionist, camera shy, and I have a long-standing phobia against recording.

(I’m more of a “you have to be there” artist.)

To top it off, I’ve had to take news and social media in highly regulated doses because it’s just too much.

For me, this has been one long, never-ending night.

Listening around the community, it’s clear I’m not alone.

Every single one of you has a similar tale of struggle, and how this period has forced you to do things that you didn’t have to, or want to, do before.

For some of us, it goes even deeper, as the ‘loss’ is physical as well as spiritual and emotional.

I take heart in this passage from Psalm 30:5: 

… weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. 

One thing that has begun to quicken my soul day-to-day is the question, “Where is the blessing in this day?” I ask myself that, among other questions internally.

These questions allow me to see past the outward dourness and the social instability, and I begin to accept the fact that God’s ‘morning’ may not look like the morning I want or envision.

For example, I hate recording. But what are the benefits of this process? I have begun to discover some of them.

One is that I get to interact with you in real-time during the prelude and postlude of our online worship, instead of hoping and praying while I’m playing that you like what I do. From this, I get to know what you like, what you’re feeling, and which pieces/songs to shelve away.

In the end, I’m confident we will reopen, life will move on, and there will be plenty of outward expressions of joy.

In the meantime, I’m learning to embrace the small joys and to take pleasure in them.

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