01 February 2011

Counting Out Loud

I'm making the bed and the piano's playing before breakfast.  My ear detects some problems with the song.  

The music stops and I see the owner of the hands before me.  "Are you counting?," I ask.   "Yes," he says.  "Out loud?," I continue.  "Well, in my head," he replies sheepishly.  "Go back and count it out loud.  I'll meet you there in a minute and check!"

He returns to his bench and the music resumes, this time with a "one, two, three, four."  When I come to watch and listen, we realize not only is he missing a count or two, but some of his notes are wrong.  I play.  He plays.  The song improves and conforms to the page's lead.

The other afternoon we attended a good-bye party for some fellow pilgrims further down the road than us.  I've learned that people we esteem as humble Christ-followers have wonderful friends.

I was sitting in the living room trying to keep the children from spilling their punch or eating too much cake or playing with fragile roosters when a lady came and sat by me.  

She smiled and said when I walked in I reminded her of her.  She was a pastor's wife who once toted five children around, too.  Her eyes were kind.  She did not launch into a diatribe of her life and offer me every detail while I attempted to corral my chicks.  She just smiled and asked me questions about them.

Not to be outdone, I asked her questions, too.  After their children left home they went to Eastern Europe to share Jesus.  Actually, they lived in Western Europe and for twenty years traveled back and forth incognito offering Jesus to those behind the Iron Curtain.

I could have kept asking questions but Dawson was on his third piece of cake.

So I changed the subject to the present.  Where did they live now?  Where were their children now?  She smiled a joyful, peaceful smile and said their oldest was in heaven and their other four were near them.  Two in ministry themselves.

My breath stopped.  She was shining.  She'd seen ugliness in Europe.  She'd lived an entire life in ministry.  And most of all, she'd lost a son.  

One of my greatest fears is to lose a child before I die.  I fear mostly that I'll lose my faith.

But here, before me was someone who'd gone through it and my hunch is, it is what made her shine so.  Made her compelling and welcoming.

I wonder what her secret is...

Actually, I know what it must be.  

She doesn't stop counting out loud.  Naming her gifts before God.  Making sure that all the notes are right.  That her minds' thoughts conform to the pages of the Word, the Truth.

We mustn't stop counting.  Out Loud.

A sky of blue, creative, happy children, music for the soul,
the gift of compassion, differences and diversity in people,
daffodils from daffodil hill growing on the kitchen window,
how He redeems what I think is past redeemable, flames flickering,
not understanding it all but receiving the strength to be at peace anyway,
a husband whose love covers over my sins again and again,
good books, playing dollies with the little lady and listening to her make-believe,
the words of King Jehoshaphat.."We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you."