My gift of joy

Last year was a rough year for me. I had things happen that had not happened before, like breaking my arm and having someone close to me break my trust. Incidentally, these two things happened at about the same time. At that point, I was unable to continue my blog. This was disappointing to me.

Those were the big events or Big T trauma but I was also like many others in the world trying to get along with my own daily life. Then Christmas hit. I was one of the many people that the season was not of joy, warmth, and love but it was depression, coldness, and despair.

But the biggest cloud over all of this was I had been dealing with, for more than a year, a sense of betrayal by my Heavenly Father. I was working on it. I was trying to proceed with faith. I had therapists helping me with this. But it kept coming back to the thought that I was not as important as others, namely my husband.

Then the ward choir came back into being. I decided to join since I enjoyed singing and thought maybe, just maybe, being a part of this activity would bring me out of my slump. It worked, for a couple of weeks.

Then I started having trouble with my asthma and this would change my voice, if I had one at all. I kept trying to go to choir. But there were several weeks where I could not go.

I got a text message about practice and the message said this was the last one before we would perform our Christmas program in church. What? How did this happen so fast?

So the morning we were to perform there was a rehearsal before church to do a final run-through of the songs we would sing. I knew almost all of them but one I was sight reading during the practice. But I get ahead of myself.

At home I was trying to get dressed and I fell apart. I could barely breath as I struggled to dress. I was almost to me knees anyway and I let out the most heartfelt prayer I could muster. Lord, I can’t do this. I need your help. I can’t get dressed. I can’t make it to church but you want me there I know. I can’t breath. How can I sing? But if I don’t sing with the program I can’t just sit and watch that is more painful than anything right now. Please I need. your. help.

Despite all my feelings of how I thought my father was treating me I did know that no matter what he would be there for me. So he was again. He would walk me through step. by. step. to get me to church.

First get this part of dressing on, then the shoes, then brush the teeth. As I performed each act to get ready I would not, no, could not think of the next step. It took everything I had to get through the current one.

The next thing I knew was I was on the platform practicing. I knew this song but this one I didn’t. We finished rehearsal and I went and sat next to my dear friend, Sue. She is such a comfort to me.

I didn’t know the order of the songs as I had missed the very beginning of rehearsal. Oh, but the bishop announced them from the pulpit. “Shh, Michael, he is telling me what I need to know.”

It is time to begin. I go up. I need to sit on an end I am standing so someone could take the seat next to me. As I am standing a friend and her daughter come up, they are both singing. They want to sit together so the single seat next to me remains empty as they go in the row directly behind me.

Someone comes up and takes the seat and I sit down. I notice that there are two men getting ready to play guitars, this is new to me. The violinist is preparing her violin and the pianist is getting ready behind me. We stand.

I need to move so the conductor and the pianist can see one another. We begin to sing. My voice. All of sudden out of my mouth is coming sounds that I did not know were possible. I can sing. I start to cry but I stop myself. Then I feel my grandmother’s presence. During the song I distinctly hear the parts of the music, the violin, the voices around me. Oh, I am a little lost. The person beside me is singing alto in an attempt to help the altos have enough sound but I can’t get there. All of a sudden I hear very distinctly the piano and it is hitting the exact notes I need. Such a relief and I sing, again amazed that my asthma stricken vocal cords are performing. When I have my part I also notice the piano and its melodies. I have loved these sounds the entire time we have practiced, so uplifting and a joy to the ear.

There are some really high notes and out of nowhere those come out of my mouth as well. Then I need to hear the other person who is singing them. It is my friend behind me. I turn slightly so I can make sure my voice meshes with hers. Such a blessing she is there.

It is at this point that I know without a doubt that this is a gift. It is my Christmas gift from Heavenly Father. I am so thankful for this gift and I say a little prayer of thanks right then but it is not over.

Finally the last song is to be sung. It is something in our hymnbook so the congregation is to join on the last verse. The music we have was a new arrangement by our conductor and we will accompany the congregation. As we are singing I very distinctly hear the congregation and then I hear how what we are singing is accompanying and enhancing the congregation. Does everyone singing know they are part of the choir as well? We went from about 15 members to almost 100 in an instant. The sound is glorious. Heavenly Father, his angels and those present must be a part of this. As the song ends the voices are silent but the room resonants the sounds and the spirit of the Holy Ghost is strong here.

O, what a glorious gift!

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