I come from a musical family. My mother used to say in her family the only excuse for not doing supper dishes was practicing your musical instrument. My grandmother did a lot of dishes as my mother and siblings found themselves strongly motivated to practice after dinner.
My cousin Gary passed away last week. He was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumor in June of 2006. At that time he was given only a few months to live, but tests showed he didn’t use the left side of his brain where the tumor was located (probably due to an attack of encephalitis when he was a small child.) “It just goes to show that I’m in my right mind,” Gary quipped.
Doctors were able to operate aggressively. Gary and his wife praise God for the series of events that moved them to Minnesota and access to the best that the Mayo clinic has to offer. For three and a half years Gary has undergone cutting edge treatments. Much of that time he was able to continue working, and when he had to quit, he volunteered at the local hospital. Through it all he has shown tremendous faith in God and desire to live or die for God’s glory.
About Christmas time he began to go down hill—not from the tumor itself but from the effects of long-term treatment. The decision was made to go into hospice. Last week his Lord welcomed him home. Many of the extended family are coming to the service Friday afternoon. What music has Gary requested? Congregational singing of Handel’s "Hallelujah Chorus." We may just start a new family tradition.
My earliest remembered exposure to classical music was some older cousins and their parents gathered around the piano one Christmas singing Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus”. They must have done it at least two years, because it was remembered as ‘a tradition’ when we revived it in the late 1970s. Now no Smith family Christmas gathering is complete without pulling out the frayed books and sheet music to sing the “Hallelujah Chorus.” (Younger female family members have been instructed to marry bases, but so far none have complied.) No, we don’t sound like the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, but we have a lot of fun praising God. Those too young to sing look on in awe as I remember doing in the mid-1950s. They catch a glimpse of the beauty of music and the glory of the King of kings and Lord of lords.
LeAnne Hardy has lived in six countries on four continents. Her books come out of her cross-cultural experiences and her passion to use story to convey spiritual truths in a form that will permeate lives.
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