I was blessed last week. My aunt had asked me to sing at her funeral. She'd been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last spring. It was a trying journey for her and she faced it with courage, dignity, and most importantly, her faith in Christ Jesus. What a witness of God's grace for the moment. Powerful testimony.
Truly, I didn't know how to sing at a funeral of someone I knew personally and loved; at my bro's last year, I'd only chimed a song from the lobby wanting to contribute and playing accompaniment was easy. Now, I'd have to really not get choked up and/or nervous. I'm not a solo performer - at least not the well-composed kind. But this sort of thing isn't a performance, anyway. It is a tribute to God and in honour and memory of the person's life one is celebrating.
And in this case, someone very near and dear to all of us who certainly knew the Lord and was ready to be with Him. Her family has been through a terrible trial in observing her loss, and also the loss of their husband/father and father/grandfather, both to cancer, as well. Incredible trial, pain, loss... incredible, telling journey of acceptance, grace and faith. This was a day of releasing the one who was ready to be at home. And a day to celebrate her life.
I hadn't known prior what Aunt Alberta wanted sung that day. Learning it was "On Eagle's Wings" was a relief, although the music wasn't anywhere to be found. I knew she had asked her granddaughter to sing as well, if she felt she was up to it. Unfortunately, she was too saddened. Her grandma had spoken often of how well she'd sung "Amazing Grace" in church. So, Joe and I sang a new rendition of "Amazing Grace" that I'd worked up the couple days before the funeral. It turned out to be an upbeat, optimistic sounding and feeling way to do an old, lovely hymn. I added a few lyrics and was thankful that this public domain hymn was available to be reworked.
I was blessed that several friends were praying for our morning journey out of town. God met me there and helped get us through the numbers without tears or lumps in our throats. We could really enjoy the knowledge that this kind lady is with our Lord. We could truly be thankful. It was an unseasonably warm, sunny day. And a great blessing to visit with so many cousins. It's so great, too, knowing that so many know the Lord.
I want to get into the studio to record this piece, but Joe is unemployed currently and there isn't a way right now to do anything but "jam and bread". I am so thankful, however, that despite the loss of our van to the accident that Phoebe and I were in (thank God that we weren't seriously hurt!) that we can rejoice in life and current health. We are rejoicing in our Saviour. And,...
Mom was on her way home after being with Aunt Alberta the night she died. She must have been out of it and very tired having said her last goodbye and turned the wrong way on the highway in the darkness going home... the direction of oncoming traffic. She realized this, thankfully, before any collision, and did a U-turn. An officer pulled her over and remarked that she has an excellent driving record... "and I like your bumper sticker!" He let her go on home without a warning. I couldn't believe the mercy. Thank God. It drove the point home to me that He has already numbered our days. It just wasn't her time that night. I shared this with my sister and brother-in-law when we were over there collecting Halloween treats and Phoebe's birthday present. They shared that Mike's father had died going the wrong way into oncoming traffic on the very same highway years ago. So ironic.
I rest in thanfulness tonight. Help me remain thankful. In all things. Tonight, Joe and I were singing songs together and we ran through "Amazing Grace" and then I realized that it sounds an awful lot like my aunt's name, "Alberta Grace"...