Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Day the Music Didn't Die-- Part 2

Few of us contemplate creating a new life after spending half a life time figuring out who we want to be when we grow up. Life might not be comfortable. Usually, however, we find comfort in the familiarity of life. When we do face sudden change, it most often comes in the form of financial, natural, or marital disaster. Sometimes change comes in the form of a health crisis. For Jane's family, life had become one of 'those' health related horror stories.

Jane's life had been full: mother of twins, music educator for the public schools, wife to a fellow educator, active church musician, and wife whose pleasure it was to cook a meal for her husband. Now she faced the reality that her old reality was gone. Quitting was not an option. She set about to convince the medical community that the cardiovascular surgeon didn't have all the answers in his chart of expectations.

courtesy Mad Penguin Creations
Some might call it fate. Some might call it karma. Some might call it happenstance.  Jane called it God.  She asked permission for a trip outside the hospital. After so many weeks as an inpatient, it was wonderful to bask in the physical presence of the sun and wind on her face.  She sat drinking in her surroundings and saw it. A tree. A glorious tree stretching upward to Heaven waving in the wind.  The questions whirled in her head. Questions about who God was and who she was now that he had allowed this new reality.  On this hot, windy day, God had an answer.

"Jane," his quiet voice resonated in the ears of her soul, "Do you see that tree? Jane, what did the tree have to do to be a tree?"  She knew the tree had done nothing other than fulfill its creative purpose.  "Jane, what did the branches and leaves have to do to be branches and leaves?"  Again, she acknowledged that the tree had done nothing other than simply 'be'. "Jane....Jane, you don't have to DO anything for me. Just be.  I'll take care of the rest." And with that, God began to remove the burden Jane had carried all her life regarding the need to do and be more than she was.  She could simply just 'be'.

courtesy Mad Penguin Creations
The battle to create a new life began with convincing the medical personal to alter her rehab admission plans from one hospital to another.  The work was grueling. Quitting was never an option. The day came when she stood on prostheses before the surgeon who had written "The End" across her hopes to walk again. She stood and walked and put a new entry in his chart of expectations.

She mourned the loss of her music. A friend said, "Jane, you didn't lose your music. You ARE music."  She realized she could still perform using percussion instruments including tympani and tambourine.  In a pinch, she even plays the drum kit for worship services.

She lives her life in different parameters.  She misses the ability to cook a meal and hopes to begin to prepare simple things again, but the process is slow.  She can't attend all the functions she once enjoyed. Now, however, the phone rings, and the caller will say, "I don't know why I called you....."  Jane will instinctively know the caller has a fraidy cat mask that they need help removing. Life has humbled her.  She has an enlarged capacity to listen and comfort when a friend calls not knowing how to explain why they called. Prior to her illness, she had never like nursing homes.  Now she can visit freely and bring comfort and a smile without feeling frightened and uncomfortable.  God gave her the opportunity to see her girls grow up and to celebrate the wedding of one in only a few weeks hence.  He has allowed her more years to bask in the love of a spouse who has been with her every step of this prolonged and arduous journey.

Hers is not a story of challenge completely conquered. Each day has its unique challenges. She isn't quite ready to do as suggested and embrace the 'ministry' of her experience by speaking in public.  From where I sit, I'm not sure she has to say a word. All she needs to do is just be Jane.  For fraidy cats like me, that example is all I need to hear.

As you reflect on Jane's story and your own inner fraidy cat(s), ponder one of her favorite verses.  During her anxious moments, this verse reminds her God has promised to quiet her with his love. All she has to do is be.

Zephaniah 3:17--The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing." (NIV)

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1 comment:

  1. Carol Ann, this is one of my absolute favorite verses (Zeph. 3:17) and now it means even more. Jane's story is pure inspiration! Thanks for sharing it....