Monday, April 16, 2012
One Step At a Time
So there I was, minding my own business, having a nice walk with a good friend when the phone call came. I answered my cell phone, then wished I hadn't. A relative was in a coma, near death, and one of his last requests had been to have me sing at his funeral. Nice.
If this sounds like a less than stellar attitude, let me explain: our family has been enduring a very challenging time. Though we're all trying to keep a positive frame of mind, sometimes the heartache of what a loved one is currently enduring creeps through. And in my case, I never know when the tears will surface. One minute I'm fine, then not so much. I find this annoying as I hate to cry in public.
Back to the phone call: as I've mentioned before, I grew up in a musical family. Music is part of my soul. Music touches me in ways I can't explain. It can propel me to spiritual heights, and pierce my heart like nothing else can. Singing at funerals is difficult for me, in part because of that, and also because of loved ones that I have lost--and the fact that I have sung at most of their funerals.
Despite all of this, I usually try to come through for people when this request is made. I understand how hard it is to pull a funeral together and how tender hearts are following the loss of a loved one. Singing at funerals is one way that I can serve those who are grieving. But there is one song I've haven't been able to perform since my husband's brother passed about 4 years ago. I was called upon to sing a song at his funeral that tore at my heartstrings. The emotions of that turbulent time collided with that particular song and I couldn't sing it alone. Fortunately, my kids came to the rescue and performed it with me that day. Things went well for us the day of the funeral, but since then, every time I hear that song, I tend to have leaky eyes. I can't stand to hear it, and I was convinced I would never sing it again.
This was the song I was being asked to sing at the dying man's funeral this past week. As I stood in shock, gripping my cell phone, the good friend who was with me reminded me to breathe. Wise advice, and sometimes all that we can do in these type of situations. As I agonized over what I was being asked to do, silently praying for guidance (it's not easy turning down a grieving almost-widow's request) a strong sense of peace filled my heart, and I agreed to perform the song. I reasoned that the coma could last for a while, and I would have time to get my act together before being called upon to sing. Wrong. He passed away that night.
Long story short, this past week has been a blur. But following promptings, I survived. I called upon a dear cousin of mine to help me pull this song together. With her help, and an outpouring of peaceful support from heaven, we were able to sing the song that was requested, and kept our emotions in check. Prayers were answered in a big time way, and we witnessed a mini-miracle with how well things went.
Once again I learned that when I place my trust in the Lord, despite how painful the path ahead might be, it can be walked with His help.
The day of the funeral as I nervously paced the floor of the room where my cousin and I were hiding before the program began, a dream came to mind. This was a dream that had surfaced for me during another challenging time years ago. The dream began with me trying to climb a set of golden stairs. It seemed like it took every bit of strength and courage that I could muster to take even one step forward. Then my eyes were opened. I could see that a dark force was trying to keep me stymied in place. But angels surrounded me, keeping that dark force at bay as long as I was willing to keep moving forward, one step at a time. How high I climbed was up to me--the angels couldn't make the journey for me. I had to do that for myself, but it was impressed upon me that I would never be alone.
I hope I will remember the lessons relearned this past week. I suspect I may need them in the days ahead as I continue trying to press forward, one golden step at a time.