Every once in a while, I’ll ask my mother in law, Margot, if I can look through her collection of songs. “Sure,” she says. She clutches that typewritten packet close to her chest as she lovingly recalls how she came to write them. “They said I had no rhythm. I must learn something else. But I prayed and prayed, and God gave me the gift of music.” One of my favorites is titled, “What Kind of Music Does a Rainbow Make?” She tells of how she heard of a teacher working with autistic children. There was a boy in particular that the teacher had trouble reaching. One day as she was putting her things away in class, the boy pointed to the picture of a rainbow and asked, “What kind of music does a rainbow make”? It touched the teacher for sure and led Margot to pen the beautiful words to that children’s song.
What kind of music does your life make? In my blended household, across fault-lines of language and culture, amid the cacophony of two sometimes three languages, endless schedules and deadlines, I hear the sweetness of Sunday worship, the excitement of living history camps and national pride, the loving kindness of calling upon the sick or the earnest prayers for someone in need. Does your life resound with such music?
The holidays are upon us, and like in many families, we will have an empty chair or two. This year my family lost its patriarch. Papa, my father-in-law, left a legacy of love and service, and shoes no one is ready to fill. His presence has been sorely missed. Other empty chairs are those of estranged family members. It’s in this season when we feel these absences the most. As long evenings give way to reflections on our relationships, loneliness, and regret can set in. My own parents and siblings have not reconciled themselves to me following the Christian path. My biggest struggle this year has been to accept their absence and opposition, still attempt to bridge broken relationship and continue the call to live my Christian testimony. I have come to accept, as one author writes, that while our earthly parents make many mistakes, our heavenly Father does not when He places His love in our heart.
When I consider Your heavens,
The work of Your fingers,
The moon and stars, which You have ordained
What is man that You are mindful of him? Psalm 8
Because He loved us, he gave us Jesus. His signature is on our souls. Psalm 23 says,
Surely Goodness and Mercy will follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Frances Thompson, in his poem, The Hound of Heaven, tells of our God who pursues us through the nights and through the days, through the years and through the tears. His love for us is patient yet relentless. Let us then pursue those who’ve left us hurting. Let Jesus do the healing because most assuredly He is looking to heal and seal our hearts. Let our lives ring the melody of the new song He has put in our hearts.