Updated: Sep 6, 2018
We are blessed to have several husband-and-wife teams on the board at Harmony, Hope & Healing. Here, Chris & Carl Krzystofczyk share their experience as participants in a class at St. Leonard's House earlier this summer.
Our first program experience was a visit to St. Leonard’s House to observe (and participate in!) that evening’s Adult Music Session. That wonderful experience gave us a glimpse into how one hour can make a notable difference in people’s lives.
Not knowing what to expect, we arrived on the early side, and helped assemble then join in a circle of chairs. The men that attended on that beautiful spring evening assembled slowly, one by one. Marge cheerfully greeted each person, setting the tone for the evening with her wonderfully welcoming spirit. The men quietly found their seats in the circle amidst brief introductions. We were the “newbies” there, unsure of what our time together would be like. The agenda was short and came with a book of songs: it looked like we’d be done in five minutes.
The program began in an air of tentativeness mixed with energy. The attendees began choosing sections of lyrics that had a special meaning to them or a critical impact, something that made them see themselves as a part of a wide world instead of feeling alone or isolated. The musical selections were played, and we all relaxed into the moment, taking in the music and joining our voices to the songs. As the music faded, someone would share how the lyrics spoke to them, giving them a new way to view how they relate to others, their struggles, and their successes. We had just met these men, and we don’t know their stories, but we watched in awe as we witnessed their honesty, sincerity, and strength that flowed from the shared musical experience.
The program flowed between the music and an uplifting reading, then there was additional time to talk freely in the circle. Again the participants shared with all of us the impact of the reading and how those words could be used to inspire and center them in their day-to-day lives. Their insights were deep and inspiring.
Then drums of all sizes appeared and were passed out to all. One man set a beat that lead the group as everyone joined in as they each felt inspired to do. It was completely spirit-led, with tempo and volume rising and falling in a mystical sound wave around the circle. It ended almost of its own accord, only when it seemed that what was to be expressed was finished. It was a bit of a surreal experience, palpably energizing and healing as individual sound vibrations blended into an impromptu symphony.
The men exited with a greater discernable sense of joy and calm, and due to the mild weather, many stayed outside to talk. We left not only witnesses, but participants in the ministry that we just experienced. We’re not sure who was the greater recipient of the healing and ministry that evening, the official attendees or us visitors.