There are stories that have a place in my memory like a painting in a gallery, and this one has earned a place of prominence. I tell parents and singers as often as I can that through our youth choir, Pure Sound, we are building a soundtrack in their heads, so when life gets hard—and it will, if it hasn’t already—this music and theology will help them through tough times.

Years ago, Phillip Storey graduated a year early from Episcopal High School and went to spend a year with a family in South America where he could hone his Spanish before going off to college. I hadn’t heard from Phillip in several months, until one day, I received an email from him. He described his life and how things were going —the usual catching up—but then he said something I will never forget, and have often quoted. Phillip related that his host family was coping with some financial set backs, and there were days when tensions ran high. He would leave the house, go for a walk and give them much needed space.

One day when he was out walking, Phillip found himself singing the songs he had learned in Pure Sound, and he said, “I guess that soundtrack thing works.”
If fulfillment came complete with calories, I could have skipped meals for a month. Now, I’m certain everyone considers opting for a job that requires less of them from time to time. I know I have joked (mostly) that I was going to chuck it all and sell shoes on days when loose ends refused to come together and the “why” was elusive. But then, an email like Phillip’s arrives, unannounced, out of the blue, and you realize that seeds do sprout, whether you are there to see them, or not.