Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Heavens are Telling

My parents are both musicians. Not professional, but really good. My mother plays the violin; my dad the piano. My Uncle Chris played piano, bass violin, and composed. My grandma Lou played piano, and my mother tells me there were several other musicians in her mother's family. My brother Robert is a gifted guitarist. I was born for two things: God and music.

Unfortunately, I haven't been able to pursue my interest in music as much as I would have liked over the course of my life. There were circumstances that got in the way. I think I could have been a decent piano player with the right training, but that was not meant to be. I really don't know what difference it would have made. I do still love to play the piano, but I stink. No kidding, I really do. I need a good teacher and lots of practice, neither of which are happening any time soon.

A wonderful thing happened to me when I was a new Christian. The church we were attending had a choir; a really good choir, with an excellent choir director. I had never sung but always secretly wanted to. I don't have a good singing voice but can read music and hit most of the notes. I remember when I was a kid many times begging my cousin Lindy to sing that old Beatles tune, "If I Fell" with me so we could do parts. I loved singing with her. It was the only opportunity I ever had to do such a thing-- It never occurred to me in highschool to join the choir, and we didn't go to church.

Anyway, as a new believer, at age 33 (or so)--like a really special birthday present from God I was able to join the church choir! There were no try-outs or anything. And I got to take home my music, and wear a choir robe, and go to practices on Wednesday nights. It was a really worshipful time. Practicing and singing on Sunday morning. Although sometimes I was just so excited to be there I think I was more focused on myself than God. But, all in all it was a very good experience. I will never forget it. I am so grateful to God that I had that opportunity. And when he was old enough, my eldest son sang in choir with me.

I learned so many wonderful old hymns and songs and got to sing some I had known or had heard on the radio and loved. Our director chose some really great music--and not so easy either! We'd do parts of Handel's "Messiah" and other difficult stuff like that. We did a fair amount of classical and traditional music, which is my favorite. We did some newer music that I liked, some that I didn't...

When we were doing something I absolutely loved like "The Heavens Are Telling" from Haydn's Creation, the tears would just stream down my face as we sang. It was so incredibly joyful. I thought to myself, "I am glad I was never able to sing before. My singing has been saved for this moment, for it to be really meaningful." I could never enjoy to such heights any other music as much as those beautiful songs singing praise to God. I mean, that is what music (and everything else) is made for--to glorify Him. And so it was one of my little tastes of Heaven on earth.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

A Time for Us

It was my birthday last week and I am getting so senile that I had to stop and remember if it had already come. Not that I didn't get nice gifts and calls and cards and even a special meal out...I just didn't immediately recall it. This might be a little scary but I'm getting used to it. I try to exercise my brain to remember things. I don't know if that'll help, but whatever. I have to exercise my body now too which I have successfully avoided for 47 years. But now it's necessary. Now I have "health issues."

In fact, just about everyone I know now has "health issues." And everyone I know knows even more people with such problems. My prayer list has become a Rock of Gibraltar so heavy and overwhelming that only the One True God Himself can actually handle it. I am so glad that He can.

So, for my birthday we went out for dinner. I am now on a 'special diet' for a different health concern and so I asked for my chicken piccata to be flourless and therein began the trouble. Don't get me wrong, we had a very nice dinner. The salad was wonderful, and the rest of the family's meals came out right on time. But mine did not. However I really didn't care. I was already full from the salad, and we were out having a nice time. So I didn't even complain when the rest of the family was finished eating and the kids were getting restless, and my meal still hadn't come. I just told the waiter, pleasantly, that we had to get going.

Well, next thing you know the manager appeared announcing that he would comp the whole meal! (I hadn't even told them it was my birthday). So all's well that ends well. We had lots of leftovers. We did leave the waiter a nice tip. A good tale for a cheapskate girl's happy birthday.

But, what I'm thinking about now is this whole getting old thing, and people getting sick, and dying. I remember when we were young and I was so crazy about my husband (he was my boyfriend then) that I literally could not spend enough time with him. I wanted to be with him every second of the day. We worked together at a pizza place. I loved my job. We took long walks, talked for hours; I guess I don't have to explain this...but here's the thing: I still feel the same way.

We got married and off he went to work. I would pine away for him all day every day. Not that I didn't do anything else; it was just always in the back of my mind. How many hours til he would get home. I furiously guarded his time off--"our time." We socialized a fair amount, but usually together. Of course we spent a lot of time with our little ones, as a young family. We fought a lot too. But I still always wanted just to be with him.

Now here we are all these 25 years later, and I still miss him. He goes off to work most days, and we have our second batch of kids--who pretty much suck all the life and energy out of us both by the time they get tucked in--and I get these leftover moments with the love of my life. I'm not meaning this to be complaining. I am just pondering. We have made the choices for the course of our lives. I am mostly content with those choices; it's just, I wish we could work together.

What a crazy thing for someone to say whose husband has good gainful employment in this economy, I know. But we've been looking at things like retirement, not that we really want to retire...it would just be nice, maybe, not to be tied to the corporation which has been our financial security for all these years.

I know I'm rambling. It's because I feel what I'm saying is somehow inexcusable. We have what a lot of people right now are desperate for, and I do not at all want to be ungrateful. It's just that, I look at my life sometimes as waiting for the day that will never come.