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Monday, June 8, 2009


This morning I had one of those moments so beautiful and so subtle it could have easily been overlooked and turned out as if nothing. It happened in the Independence nursing home, a place I've become comfortable in after going there every day for a month. I was surprised at how fast I became comfortable going in there. Right off, I felt tremendous love in the air, saw it in the way the people working in the place took care of the people so frail they can't take care of themselves.

For the last two days this one old woman who gets pushed around the hall in a wheelchair cries all the time like she's in a perpetual state of crying. She drifts by saying boo-hoo in the most mournful way. When I see her go by the open doorway I think, Cry it all out, sister. I wonder what happened in her life to put her into such never-ending sorrow. First thing comes to mind, she wants to go home and they won't let her. I tell myself that's most likely not it and it's no business of mine even if it is. If I knew I still wouldn't know. All I'd know would be the answer to a question, no more than that.

Jr was having a difficult time this morning, coughing up fluid from lungs. Even sitting up didn't help. It finally settled, then he was so worn out from all that expenditure of energy he drifted off to sleep. I sat there gazing out the window and heard a far away woman's voice singing in what seemed like a foreign language, in that North African style of singing with the wavering voice. I wondered if somebody in the place had Afro-pop playing on their radio. I already knew the answer to that. The singing intrigued me. It couldn't be on tv for sure and about 99.99% certainty said it was not radio either.

I went to the doorway and stood just outside the door listening. I heard several televisions on different channels very faintly and a radio station very faintly, and in the same degree of faintness this North African singing by a woman. I could not make myself believe it was on a radio and it became something I had to investigate. It seemed like it was coming from the right so I set out walking slowly that direction using my ears for direction finders looking for this faint voice among all the other sounds I'd never even noticed before.

At the next doorway I discovered a little old black woman I'd not seen before, sitting in a wheelchair, divine light in her eyes, singing, chanting, "let it shine, let it shine, let it shine, come to Jesus, let it shine, let it shine, let it shine." She chanted it singing from her soul, let it shine, over and over as endlessly as the woman boo-hooing. I stood there looking into the doorway. She saw me and sang to me, let it shine. I watched her and she watched me, singing let it shine, let it shine. Tears started running down my face for the beauty of it.

I raised my hand a little bit and waved to her to let her know I'm with her and she sang on and sang on. I let the tears flow feeling an upwelling within from the heart that held me there unable to do anything but stand and look at her and hear her lovely voice sing the meaning of her life. We looked into each other's eyes and she sang, let it shine, like it was the Holy Spirit speaking through her to me. We were communicating through our eyes, though I don't know what, holding eye contact all the while she sang. I thought if I had to be in this place, I'd want to be in the room with her.
Strangely, while I was looking at her that North African sound went entirely away. It was an American soulful black woman singing her love for Jesus in a time of her life when that was all she could do. I stood there until I started feeling awkward after quite a long time. The woman who mops the rooms was close by and I said to her with the tracks of my tears wet on my face, "It's so beautiful." She smiled and said, "Yeah, she can't talk. But she can sing." I said, "She can do that," and went back into the room where Jr was lying on the bed awake.

I noticed that all the time I was looking at her, it was perfectly clear English language, American singing, but as soon as I turned, her voice blended with the tv noise and radio noise as a far away North African woman singing in a foreign language. When I looked in and saw her it changed instantly, and it changed just as instantly when I turned away back to what I'd heard before. I felt right off it was totally inexplicable and there was no way I would ever be able to satisfy my mind with any kind of explantation. I let my questioning mind have a rest and not even bother to think about it, rather accept it with gratitude and go on.

It was one of those moments you know while it's happening you'll never forget it. Moments like this tell me I'm in the right place at the right time, I'm on my path, all is right in my world, don't worry, be happy.

1 comment:

  1. Wow TJ, I hadn't been here in a while, since you wrote about me actually. I admit, I don't take compliments very well. Everything I do I try to do to help someone else and I never want to be noticed. I just want to be used by God to be a blessing to someone. That aside, I logged on tonight to catch up...I've got in the habit of reading your blogs and started to miss it. What a needed blessing. I can't explain how your description of her singing touched me and that you could understand it is a message to me. I appreciate you TJ. You have a way of looking at things and finding the good in them. Most people find nursing homes depressing. I cried as I read your description. Jeff can tell you it's the truth. There is a something in you that this perverted world has not touched that is missing in most people today. You still take time to stop and smell the roses and enjoy the creations of God. Don't ever change the way you perceive things. God Bless You, Sue