Sometimes, life tells us amazing stories, showing an excellent sense of humor. I have been reminded of this more than once or twice.
When I was in my last year at the faculty of journalism, the “era” of church choir singing began for me. During that period, I had to learn hundreds of liturgical hymns from scratch. In the first few months, our choir sang only at the Liturgy, but soon they also began to invite us to evening services, weddings, and funerals. This, of course, required a constant expansion of our “repertoire”.
This coincided with my preparation for state exams, so the schedule was intense. I had to learn the new pieces in the evenings, and even at night. However, I enjoyed singing at the kliros, so it did not bother me too much.
One Friday evening, I returned to the university dormitory after a rehearsal. My neighbors had left for the weekend, and I was planning to study the panikhida chants, which our choir was supposed to sing for the first time on the following day.
“Great! Everyone has gone home, so I won’t bother anyone,” I thought. Our floor was almost completely empty until Monday, so I could sing all night. The only audible sound was the soft strumming of a guitar coming from the men’s wing.
I had to learn two parts, alto and tenor, so my exercises dragged on. When I finished singing, the sounds of the guitar had already stopped, and the clock showed half past two in the morning. Satisfied with my results, I went to bed.
… After the service, I arrived at the dormitory and went to the kitchenette, which was situated next to my room.
My classmate Oleg was sitting there looking serious and quiet. Oleg was the biggest party person in our year. I was surprised to see such a fun-loving fellow looking that way.
“Oleg, what happened?” I asked as unobtrusively as I could.
“Listen, I’m quitting drinking! Never again, not a drop! Yesterday I got drunk again. And then, I was in the kitchen when I heard… someone being buried! Right in our building! They sang “Memory eternal”! I must be going insane. Or maybe this is a warning… That’s it. No more drinking for me.”
“Yeah… You’d better…” I said thoughtfully, trying to keep from snorting in laughter. I decided not to tell him about my rehearsal. Oleg was a talented and creative guy, but he was really going too heavy on partying and alcohol. To be honest, I also thought that it was about time for him to slow down.
Oleg remained in the kitchen to comprehend this sudden intervention of God’s Providence in his life. I returned to my room, laughing soundlessly and thinking that perhaps not only the dead can benefit from a memorial service!
Translated by The Catalogue of Good Deeds