Thursday, September 27, 2012

A Joyful Still

I heard the music before I saw them.

This was Sunday. At church, I had volunteered in the toddler nursery, and after the parents had picked up their kids and I had picked up the clutter, I realized why Dan hadn't come by with the kids to get me. I'd completely forgotten. Today was the first children's choir practice for the Christmas presentation.

I followed the music down the hallway to the fellowship hall. From the doorway I saw them in a half-circle around "Miss M.," a talented music teacher who also happens be the pastor's wife. The rest of the children were Anna's age. There was Anna, reluctant because although she is a wonderful singer, singing is just not completely her "thing." And there, for the first time, stood Ethan.

Two years ago I couldn't fathom him being here. Last year, he was just at the age to start, but wasn't ready.

Ethan held a crumpled sheet with song lyrics on it, although he cannot yet read. Miss M. was asking, "Does anyone know what it means when we say 'singing with accompaniment'?" To my shock, Ethan raised his hand, and then of course had no idea what to answer, as did the rest of the kids. Miss M. graciously answered for him, and he nodded and smiled.

The children were listening, humming along to this song about a long-ago night in Bethlehem:

Lonely hearts strung across the land
They've been waiting long for a healing hand
My heart was there and I felt the chill
When Love came down and the earth stood still
When Love came down and the earth stood still 

He's doing this, I couldn't help but thinking. I can't believe he's doing this.

Other parents might have thought of this whole singing thing as cute. Sweet. Maybe, if the family is overbooked, a chore. But for us, this was something else.

Here in this church basement room late on a Sunday morning, my own world was standing still. 

I'd watched typical kids up on stage in their Christmas best with a lump in the back of my throat that couldn't be swallowed, wondering if my child could ever do that. 

I'd put a mountain-full of dreams for my child up on a shelf...only to realize that maybe they all didn't belong up there after all. 

The kids were fumbling their way through the song. "Ethan was really singing, Mamma!" Anna would report later, but I already knew. I had heard him. He was not only singing, he was singing most of the unfamiliar melody correctly, his supersonic hearing picking up on nuances in the notes before the other kids did.  

I have no idea how Ethan will do in December up on a big stage with bright, hot lights. But I know this: when we got home that day, Ethan said he wanted to go straight to his room to listen to his music and practice. For 45 minutes I heard him up there singing, learning the words, doing his best to get it right. After awhile I stuck my head in the doorway. 

"I am the music teacher," he told me. "And these are the kids listening to the music." He waved his hand towards his bed. 

"How many kids are there?" I asked. 

"Six hundred!" was his reply.

The music went back on, and I tip-toed down the stairs. Who knows? I could only think. There was something paradoxically freeing about not knowing the answer. Who knows? 

There will never be any way to know what the future holds. But the not-knowing can't mean you stop believing.The not-knowing doesn't mean that something good isn't going to happen, that miracles big and small can't happen.

When Love came down and the earth stood still. 

Thank you, God. 

 





495 comments:

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Floortime Lite Mama said...

What a blessing
I can just picture him teaching 600 kids

Deenie said...

Just beautiful.

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