It was not quite light outside. I turned over in the comfort of my bed and remembered that it was Sunday morning. The morning was full. Certain Man had a zoom meeting at 9:00 with the older men’s Sunday school class which meant that I had to have Cecilia finished almost an hour early if we were going to have any place to put our laptop that wouldn’t glare. No, wait! Is that rain I hear? Maybe that won’t be a problem after all. No sunshine makes this Zoom thing easier!
I decide to get up. It will give me some extra time to prepare lunch, as well as work on the Sunday School lesson for my intermediates that is scheduled for 2:00 this afternoon. And so my morning begins.
I sit on the edge of the bed and take my hair down. Ruffling through it to find the last pin, I hope this crazy hair will cooperate with me this morning. I have never cared as much about hair as some people, but this aging hair has me perplexed! It seems like it combs better and looks better the farther it gets from being washed. But it gets thinner and shorter! But a gal just cannot go along not washing her hair! For cryin’ out loud! I remember the story being told of how a man in our church (years ago) was holding forth in some sort of situation about “Why I Like Spring” and one of his reasons was, “It’s when my wife washes her hair!” Well, it is Spring, and my hair has been washed (even more than once) so I guess I’m good!
Sometimes I think I’m a morning person. I usually do feel good after I get moving, and I like the early morning quiet, but I also struggle in those first minutes after I’m either up (or supposed to be up!) with wanting to just be in bed a little bit longer. (If I succumb to the temptation, I almost always have some sort of spectacular, crazy dream that leaves me either very amused or very sad. Anybody identify with that?) Anyhow, getting up and getting my morning’s work done upstairs, getting combed and dressed is always a very good thing, affecting the rest of my day. In these crazy days of schedules messed up and everything just not as ordered as they “should” be, I’ve found that keeping the routines, even though later than usual, is a very good thing. And so, this morning it was a good time to be on with the morning.
I washed my face and combed my hair and then went to make my bed. There was a crazy kid’s song stuck in my head that was decidedly not a Sunday song, and after the fifth or sixth rattling around in my head (I wasn’t singing it, but it was short and bothersome and no, I’m not telling you what it was or it will get stuck in your head and you don’t want it!) I decided that it needed replacing with something else. Something better. Something more Sunday Morning-ish.
It was quiet in my upstairs bedroom. Certain Man was already down on his La-Z-boy recliner, probably studying, and I can sing without fear of bothering his train of thought or worrying about what he is thinking. Which is something that I do think about. There was a time when I never thought too much about this voice of mine. It wasn’t wonderful, but it usually stayed on key, could reach the high notes and didn’t let me down. Like this hair, it’s aging, too, and it doesn’t stay on key, it is often reedy sounding and the high notes? Forget them!!! (Sometimes I just do what my father in law always did and that is just sing the melody an octave lower and be done with it!) However, I love music, and I love to sing, and it is my favorite private worship mode.
During this current pandemic, the songs that have blessed and ministered to me are numerous and intense. Tears often are dripping down while I listen and sing along, working or standing alone in my kitchen, reading or praying in my chair, caring for Cecilia, or whatever I happen to be doing. Grief and loss and uncertainties and sadness have marked this season for me and for my extended family in ways that I could not have anticipated six months ago. Sometimes my heart feels almost numb and the tears catch me flat-footed. I’m committed to trusting this Heavenly Father, and I believe that He has us in His Grip. I have not felt despair or frantic. I have not felt alone, but I have felt very sad. Deep grief is an honest emotion. Uncertainty isn’t sin, and it isn’t the same as panic, but in the face of great uncertainty, I feel the need to be brave when I don’t feel like it, challenged to choose optimism when the outlook is anything but encouraging. And so, I often sing.
This morning, the first song that came to my mind was not a new song. It seemed like it was not a particularly profound song, but it was familiar, and it was there, and I started singing those old words as I pulled the bed coverings straight and re-positioned the pillows.
I owe the Lord a morning song
Of gratitude and praise
For the kind mercy He has shown
In lengthening out my days.
My heart is flooded with memories of my Uncle Elmer. This was his most requested song. He sang it through the years of a life that looked like anything but good. He sang it when lesser men would have given up on a God who allowed a mortal to be dealt such a “raw deal.” He sang it when he spent hours and days and years pretty much alone with little to brighten his days. He had a wonderful singing voice, and he never allowed his disappointment to stymie his faith. I cannot sing the song without thinking of him, singing. Believing. His example shines huge before me in this difficult time.
He kept me safe another night
I see another day
Now may His Spirit, as the light
Direct me in His Way.
I sing this verse and think about how I pray each night over my Cecilia-girl. Every night, but especially in this season, I thank God for His Grace and His Mercy through the day that is just past and ask for His continued protection over Cecilia and her family and our family, if that is His will. I pray that He helps us to be careful and that sleep would be granted, especially to this Cecilia-girl, so confused by this sudden change in her daily routine.
Keep me from danger and from sin
Help me thy will to do
So that my heart be pure within
And I, Thy Goodness know
Ah, Lord Jesus, yes! YES! From danger, in this pandemic, but even more, from sin! The climate of our world, the attitudes of people, the accusations, the bitterness, the blame and the superiority we give our own perceptions and viewpoints and the credence we give our own intelligence and knowledge in this time is causing us to sin against our brothers and sisters in ways that are anything but “your will.” Make our hearts pure within. Let us know your goodness. How very much we need to get outside of ourselves and into your heart. Keep us from judging one another in regards to response and choices. Show us your way, Heavenly Father. We are a needy race. Made in your image, worth so much by virtue of that one fact, but the mirror is dirty and the reflection is muddled. It’s why we need a Great Savior.
Keep me till thou wilt call me hence
Where never night can be
And save me Lord, for Jesus’ sake
He shed His Blood for me!
I ponder these words as I sing them. My heart is quiet, but joyful. I think about this blood of Jesus, shed for me, making it possible for me to be at home in Heaven some day. Home with loved ones who got there first. That place where there will never be night, no more sin, no more pandemic, no more uncertainties, no more tears, neither sorrow or crying, no. more. death. Ah, Lord Jesus, I want to go there. Keep me till thou wilt call me “hence” to Heaven, to Home.
The song is finished, my morning’s work is done, I collect my downstairs stuff and head out to meet this day. Later, the people in our church family will gather and worship together, (by ZOOM!) and I have lots to do before then. But this rainy morning praise has settled into my heart, making me glad.
My heart gives grateful praise.