"Couture by 'Love' (that is, 'made by Jesus')"

“But above all, clothe yourselves in love…” (Colossians 3:14)

It really is that simple: if you see something, say something.

Marilyn noticed the tear sliding down my cheek.

As we sang together, a week ago, at the Boulder Community ‘Sing-Along’ Messiah at St. John’s Episcopal Church, Marilyn’s beautiful soprano offered rich harmony to my alto voice as we sang our hearts out, from memory, through the Hallelujah Chorus. It was as glorious a sound as I’d been part of making with others in years. We hit every note. I even had the nerve to come in a beat early – when the alto section is supposed to – exposed to the whole world! Tada!

On my left, Heather (see photo, then Dave – who is a master at singing Hallelujah! and has such a gorgeous baritone voice,) were absolutely entirely absorbed, “and he shall reign…and he shall reign…and he shall reign, and he shall reign…” while the stirrings within me started up.

I was determined to not let this turn into a maudlin moment! I was NOT going to cry! But the tears welled up, my chin quivered, and a few more drops slid down my face. 

Marilyn saw something happening. And said something to me.

The music was beloved, the words were so unbelievably brilliant, gorgeous, powerful, true. Enough in itself to bring tears to one’s eyes. But my tears were very personal.

And, as I wrestled myself back into control so as to sing, “forever and ever, forever and ever, forever and ever, foreeeeevvvver!” -- a strong finale, the tears had all been spilled and I was molto voce again, exultant, my voice powerful and clear, “Hallelujah!”

Marilyn, (her real name, not pictured here), looked at me then, reached into her purse for a tissue, and whispered, puzzled, ‘are you okay?’ We’d only just met in the line waiting to be seated, but we clicked instantly, and she was already a delightful companion and a new friend. She waited as I scribbled a quick note to explain myself.

“I have Parkinson’s and I hate it that someday fairly soon I’m not going to be able to sing this anymore. It is SO beautiful. It caught me, as I sang it, and made me sad, to think of that time coming. Not to be able to sing…”

Marilyn scribbled back an immediate, loving and sincere word of encouragement, not to make light of reality, but to put it in perspective: “But today you can.”

Heather also looked over and gave me a compassionate hug, Dave gave my arm a squeeze. Simple kindness.

Today you can. Today you can. It turned my day, my week, my life around. Simple words. Today you can.

And so again, on Christmas Eve, without even the temptation of a tear, I sang it again in worship, the girls beside me. Today I can.

Marilyn’s kind message reminded me of two things we know from Jesus, if you can speak a word of encouragement, however simple, DO IT! If you see something, say something. A kind word, a patient, “you go ahead of me.” Encourage each other – that guy on the bus, the tired worker at the cutting counter at the sewing store, the man with a sign asking for help at the Hampden off-ramp, the check-out person in the red shirt at Target. We all need them: simple words of encouragement. Specific or not, they can be enough to get us back to our senses, enough to get us through the day, even enough to change our whole mindset. Don’t miss a single chance.

The second thing is, Marilyn is right: “Today I can.” Today you can. Tomorrow will come when it gets here. For now, I can do it: Sing. Hit a golf ball. Write a book. Tell a joke. Be kind, compassionate, patient, forgive, sing! teach, admonish :(, wear couture by God, and “do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God through him.” (Col. 3)

Love has come! Rise, shine! “Come, live in the light! Shine!”

Today you can! And me, too. Thanks be to God!

Prayer: Love has come, God has come, to live with us, as one of us! Wear God. It looks really good on you. Amen.

Jan Erickson-Pearson


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