Monday, June 22, 2015

Name that tune

When my mom was in her sixties, she followed God's leading into a new venture.  As a violinist, she had played before big audiences and small, both seeking and seizing every opportunity to engage in music. What appeared as her vocation was her calling.  It was all ministry to her.  It was how she translated God into languages others could understand.

She had been teaching violin students in our living room for more years than I care to remember.  My brothers and I woke every dawn to the screeching of beginning violinists.  And with each note, she loved on these kids.  Because we lived across from the high school, many came for more than violin instruction.  They hung out at our house, ate meals with us, and often I found in the morning, someone sleeping on the living room couch.

Mom's new venture began with a single invitation to play her violin at a retirement home.  And quite suddenly, she had a new stage and a new audience.  She began to play for women's luncheons, garden clubs, and once, as a strolling violinist at a wedding reception.  But her delight was playing for the elderly in nursing homes and retirement villages, those on the margins, largely lonely and forgotten.

Before each of these occasions, she carefully crafted her program for the event, thinking about the people, the place, their season in life, for a means of connecting with these individuals.  Melodies of romance were crafted for a Valentine's Day luncheon.  Tunes from the Big Band era were arranged for an evening with the elderly.  Patriotic songs were designated for the Veterans's Home.  Nurses in these places often noticed unresponsive patients tapping their feet in time with the music.

How shall we sing the LORD'S song
           in a foreign land?
                           Psalm 137. 4

Every which way I can.

God places each of us strategically
in exact time and place
to do that specifically
     through everything we do today,
songs of joy and hope and strength
            in a barren place.

Someone is always listening
      to what song you are singing,
      by what melody you are living,
to know if God is real.

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