The other night my husband and oldest daughter took out the old Reader’s Digest Country Song Book and started strumming, one on guitar and the other on a ukulele. They sang the old tunes we’ve sung at family gatherings for decades.
My 97 year old mother-in-law sat under her heated throw blanket on the over stuffed easy chair and gently nodded along to some of the songs. She has Alzheimer’s and doesn’t know us anymore, but she sang with on a few lines of the songs here and there. And a couple times she said, “Very good!”
The music still connected with her soul. Music is powerful like that. Long after my own mom had forgotten my name, she could still sing with a little help, “What a Friend we Have in Jesus” and “I Love You a Bushel and a Peck”.
I always love our family music sessions around the fireplace after Thanksgiving Dinner and other get-togethers. I’m not gifted musically myself, but I sing along when I can.
Music is a gift from the Lord. It softens the hard times. It eases pain. It brings tears and cheers. It can help us focus on the goodness of the Lord and worship Him. It can bring back memories so clearly you feel like you’re back in time. Almost.
And Sunday night, as we sang the old songs, I was back in my childhood home. Daddy was sitting next to me. He could still see then. He was reading the words in the songbook and singing with his usual enthusiasm. Mom was content, enjoying having the family together and playing with the grand babies she loved so much.
And then my husband and daughter reached the last song in the book. The one we often would end our music sessions with, “This Ole House”, by Stuart Hamblen.
“This ole house once knew his children, this old house once knew his wife, this ole house was home and comfort as they fought the storms of life….. This ole house once rang with laughter, this old house heard many shouts, now he trembles in the darkness when the lightning walks about…”
And I couldn’t stop the tears. I wanted to be singing next to my strong, healthy daddy again. I wanted to see Mama smiling and happy. I wanted the comfort and warmth of old times, when holidays weren’t a mix of joy and heart ache because of the people missing. I wanted to hug Daddy and smell his Old Spice talcum powder once more.
But Daddy and Mama are both with Jesus now. Life on earth will never be the same. But the music and the tears are part of the healing. And God has blessed us with children and grands to continue to make sweet memories with.
And our greatest comfort is knowing that Mom and Dad trusted Jesus. We will be together again. The family circle will be bigger than ever and the music will be beyond what we can imagine.