10.17.2011

Multitude Monday...The Music and the Gifts...





"You need a pencil..."  We hear those words often in choir rehearsal.  Most often, so that Lyndel can tell us all the places we aren't supposed to breathe, and the few select places we are. :) (I sometimes have the urge to write "Turn blue in the face here..." ;-))  Occasionally to change a word, due to doctrinal or other issues, and otherwise usually to emphasize dynamic markings or point out the proper pronunciation of a a particular word or syllable ("Remember it's yewr, not yore!"  "Mark it...it's hallelu-YAH, not hallelu-YUH.") 

Occasionally I'll run across a piece of music that still has my dad's name in his distinctively familiar hand on the front.  I always grab it...it's a crazy thing, I know, but there is something comforting, even after all these years, about singing with a piece of music I know my dad sang from years ago.  It's been over seven years now since he sang in choir...over seven years since he was last able to haltingly walk into church.  It really doesn't seem possible that it's been nearly that long...and then in some ways, it seems like it's been a lifetime.  With all that's gone on since, there are times that those days truly seem like another life altogether.   

After all these years, those pieces of music with Daddy's name on the front are pretty few and far between.  Most of them have been erased by now, many replaced with another penciled name.  I'm not sure why, but I'm bad about not putting my name on my music...so I tend to grab a "no-name" piece.  (And yes, that is actually what we call them...as people gather their music, it's common to hear "I need a no-name, please!" For some reason that still strikes me as funny every once in a while. :))

Daddy's name may have been erased off the fronts of most of his music, but there are still lots of older pieces that have his neatly-penciled (or sometimes hastily scrawled) notes *inside*.  In the earlier months after he died, opening one of those pieces in the middle of rehearsal tended to cause the "someone just hit me in the stomach" feeling.  It was somehow different to be caught off-guard by his handwriting in the middle than to see his name on the front and intentionally select it. I fought ill-timed tears more than once, particularly when his notes were more than just a word here and there.  Now, though, they make me smile...and more than once they've been a comfort or encouragement in a rather odd way at a specific time.  Yesterday was one of those times. :)

The last couple of weeks I've missed my dad more than I have in a long time. This time of year always reminds me of him...both because he loved fall so much, and because that fall seven years ago was so intense with his decline and the realization that we were near the end.  But I'm still not sure why the "I miss my Daddy" meter has been so high these weeks.  Part of it, I'm sure, has been the activities that I knew he would have enjoyed so much...the fair, the air show, helping Peter with his wood-working projects, etc.

Daddy as Noah, WHBC Noah's Ark party, 198?

And part of it, I imagine, is that I've struggled with discouragement in a lot of areas in the past few weeks.  And for almost 36 years, my dad was my greatest encourager in times of discouragement. :)  I've felt that void even more than usual lately.

So, yesterday. :)  I'd just come from teaching a Sunday School lesson on Jesus giving hope no matter what the circumstances, a lesson I realized I needed to hear myself as much as I needed to teach.  I walked into the choir room, grabbed some music, and put my folder together as we began to rehearse.  I turned a page, and  there they were...tiny penciled letters that told me my dad had once sung these very same words from this very same paper.  I smiled even as my voice wobbled a tiny bit...it wasn't quite a hug or a phone call, but it was something.




A little while later, singing the same words from the same paper with the same penciled letters,  I was suddenly overwhelmed...not just by the penciled markings themselves, but by the actual words we were singing..

"At the name of Jesus, at the name of Jesus,
Every knee shall bow in Heaven and in earth.
That every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess
That Jesus Christ is Lord!"
(Cindy Berry)

My dad sang those words, many times.  And now He is in Heaven, bowing before the Father and confessing that Jesus is Lord face to face.  The hope that we sing of in those words is now reality to him.   He loved so much to worship through song here, especially in choir...but that worship here is like seeing through a mirror dimly compared to the worship He is doing there...seeing face to face.

Daddy went through some very dark days on earth.  Job issues, church issues, health issues...all kinds of health issues, from strokes to blindness to cancer.  And yet all of those things are as a vapor now...no more sorrow, no more tears...ever!  And even so, all the pain and frustration and anxiety and sadness that we are experiencing now...it, too, will eventually be as a vapor as well, as we are able to worship Him face to face. What an encouraging thought!

I didn't ask for a hug or a phone call from my dad this week...I knew that wasn't possible.  But God used Daddy's long-ago pencil scratches to encourage me almost as if he were still here telling me himself.  I think that encouragement...from my earthly dad and my Heavenly Father...is a good place to start this week's Multitude Monday list...





~ Long-ago pencil marks in music, reminding me of God's faithfulness and certain hope....
~ Daddy's heritage in the area of church music...singing in choir, directing handbells, serving as choir librarian, and more...
~ Three generations of our family rehearsing Christmas music together this year...what a blessing to have my two "youth" in the choir!
~ Reminders again of the blessing of quality, God-honoring music in our corporate worship at church...
~ Being reminded that these days, for a Christian, are the *worst* days ever...the best is yet to come, and will last forever!
~ Clearer mind and stronger body this week...step by small step...
~ Unseasonably mild weather...such a blessing after the extremes of the winter, spring, and fall...
~ Daily provision...
~ My husband and children always...
~ His faithfulness always, even when I realize the depths of my own unfaithfulness...
~ His mercies which are new every morning...



2 comments:

t marie said...

(I tried to leave my comment yesterday, but Blogger...)

I don't think anything you expressed is silly. I adore the idea of your daddy's little pencil notes.

What joy he showed when he sang!

paul said...

a beautiful post on fatherhood