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How long is this going to take? I have things to do.
My thoughts were not charitable as I scanned the nursing home’s population gathered in the activity room. Our small singing group had come to offer a message of hope and new life in Christ. But our target audience stopped me. Instead of kindly, chattering grandparent types, the room was filled with wispy-haired elderly folks, their watery eyes locked in vacant stares. Only Linda, the activities director, gave us a hearty welcome, thanking and introducing us to the others in the room.
After a few words from our music leader, we launched into “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.” No one reacted. Weren’t we loud enough? Since no one was singing, it seemed more like a performance than a sing-a-long.
Why had we come? I wasn’t feeling all that kindly myself, so I looked away and focused on harmonizing with my trio. With lots of practice, we had learned to blend our voices into tight harmonies and every opportunity to play and sing together was a joy.
Even this one, right?
We were into the second verse of “Rock of Ages” when I noticed Linda, the activities director, stop next to wheelchair and take the veined hand of a little lady. Linda smiled and sang the words, looking into the woman’s eyes until she got her attention.
“Sing with me, Alma. You know this one,” Linda said. “It’s one of your favorites, remember?”
Soon Alma was mouthing some of the words, making unintelligible sounds. Delighted, Linda laughed aloud and patted Alma on the shoulder. “Good singing, Alma,” she said, before moving on to the next person, repeating her pattern of engagement and encouragement.
I watched Linda interact in a similar way with each of those fragile folks until we had a pretty good chorus. Most of the seniors seemed to remember parts of the old hymns, perhaps digging back into their childhoods. How wonderful that God’s truth had lodged itself so deeply within each heart, it didn’t take much to remind them of what they had always known. It was a precious thing to see.
All of a sudden, my annoyance at taking time away from my busy schedule, lugging my heavy guitar down the care facility’s halls, and singing to folks who didn’t seem to care took on a new light. Why had I not seen this as a privilege? These folks, and especially Linda, gave me something I hadn’t given to them that day.
They gave me a picture of God’s grace.
Overcome with shame at my own negative thoughts, I was deeply moved at the beauty of Linda’s tender love for those God had given into her care. The picture reminded me of how Christ’s unfailing love reaches out to me from unexpected places, always faithful. Even when I am not focused, He is there, looking deep into the eyes of my heart…calling me to remembrance.
Maybe one day when we meet face-to-face, He will smile at me and say, “Good singing!” I hope so.
About the Author:
Cathy Elliott is a full-time writer in northern California whose cozy mysteries reflect her personal interests from quilting and antique collecting to playing her fiddle with friends. She also leads music at church and cherishes time with her grandchildren. Cathy’s other plot-twisting works include Medals in the Attic and A Vase of Mistaken Identity.
You can connect with Cathy online:
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