Monday, June 9, 2014

Nothing Is Impossible

My love affair with the piano started young. We had an old one in our house. I have no idea where we got it. I loved playing and singing. I loved making up songs. There are pictures of me at two and three years old, singing into a toy microphone, or banging on the keys.

When I was a bit older, my parents gave the piano away. They gave it to the pastor of one of several dysfunctional churches we attended when I was young, a man who basically guilted them into giving it to his family.

I missed the piano. In time I even wondered, Would I have followed a path in music if we had kept it? but over the years and even as an adult I always enjoyed sitting down at a simple electronic keyboard (Dan's gift, way early in our marriage) and figuring out songs. I'm no prodigy but I can find simple melodies and harmonies quickly by ear. And so recently when Ethan announced he loved a song from church called "Nothing is Impossible" and I asked if he wanted to figure it out on the piano, I watched intently. I could see the wheels in his head turning. I started singing:

Through you I can do anything
I can do all things

I am living by faith
Nothing is impossible

It took him a few tries. I showed him when he got stuck. But he was doing it! He was so focused on the keys he never saw the look on my face. He wouldn't have understood, anyway. He wouldn't have understood my sheer joy at being able to share playing music by ear with my son. He wouldn't have understood that four years ago, we would not have known if this was possible. Never mind the playing -- even that he would be able to use the words to ask to play. When your son is not-yet-two and you get an autism diagnosis, you just don't know.

The leader of our worship team heard about Ethan's love for the song and kindly offered to put it on the set list the next time our group sang at church. I had no idea, until he shared at rehearsal, that he had a similar story about the same song. He told us about singing that song at church several years before, and looking over at his adopted daughter, who has some special needs and was really struggling with reading and writing at the time; about seeing her singing the song with all her might with outstretched arms. He told about his fears and worries ebbing away as he realize God had things under control; and about the sweet little love notes his reading and writing daughter sends him today. Like Ethan, she has come so far.

On Sunday, he told that story from the stage. On Sunday, we sang this song that no one knew a little six-year-old had asked for:

I'm not gonna live by what I see
I'm not gonna live by what I feel

Deep down I know that you're here with me
I know that you can do anything

When I sing a song like this, I have to admit the cynic tries to have its say. Oh really? it sneers. God can do anything? He sure didn't heal your friend, the one that just lost her fight with cancer.

And I think I know now that it's okay to ask such questions, but it's all about where I choose to fix my gaze.

Close your eyes and stretch out your hands, Chris the worship leader was saying. What if we choose, what if we ask for, a little more faith?

I believe, I believe
I believe I believe in you

We sang softly yet with all of our hearts. I thought about seeing through the lens of belief. Sometimes, I think, the impossible could mean witnessing one of those actual, Biblical-style miracles. Who am I to say God couldn't heal someone?

Sometimes, "I can do anything" can mean going through the fiercest of battles with unshakeable faith and a peace and a strength only God could give.

Or maybe, I thought as I sang, the impossible is that I'm still here after all these years and singing and believing, that I haven't shut the door on God and on church, after many years of seeing all sorts of ridiculous things done by Christians purportedly in the name of God. Like that long-ago pastor who shamed the piano out of us. He may have taken the piano, but he could never take the music away.

The rest of the day, I saw. I saw that nothing is impossible when I looked down at my four-month-old precious gift that we never anticipated we'd have.

I saw nothing is impossible when we gathered with relatives we thought we'd lost due to a heartbreaking rift in the family that spans back 20 years.

God didn't say He'd tie everything up for us neatly into perfect packages. But everything is possible.

Tucking Ethan into bed, he was smiling about his song.

"I believe, I believe," I sang to him and stopped. "Ethan? What does it mean, to believe God?"

"To trust Him," he answered. He didn't even have to think about it. Then he rolled over on the pillow, and began to fall asleep.

No comments: