Saturday, September 5, 2009

The Untitled Hymn and The Weepin' Mama

I told you that Nathan sang The Untitled Hymn (by Chris Rice) at my Dad's funeral two weeks ago and how special that was to me.

Here's a story from the archives about the first time I ever heard him sing that song. It helps explain why the song means so much and it also helps to explain why my oldest child is so stinkin' special to me. I just love that fella!


I remember about three years when Sarah was in the middle of an especially challenging chapter of cancer treatment and I heard The Untitled Hymn on the radio. The song talks about all the different chapters in a person’s life and then comes to a poignant, powerful section about the end of a person’s life ending with the words, “Fly to Jesus, fly to Jesus, fly to Jesus and live.”

Well, when I first heard that song, I almost had to pull the car over because of the tide of tears that swept over me as I thought about our precious little daughter battling for her life.

I hadn’t heard the song in a long time and then just last week, Nathan told me he had been practicing it because he wanted to sing it in church. Yesterday after lunch, he asked me to come to his room to listen to him practice and suggest any changes.

As I settled myself contentedly in his recliner, he planted his lanky, gangly self in front of me and started to sing. He has such a sweet baritone voice and the words to that song are so incredibly beautiful. In wasn't long before the memories of the first time I'd heard that song, and the thoughts of what was happening with Sarah at that time, came sweeping back over me.

I listened to his tender voice and I thought about loss and grief and comfort and death and hope and the journey of life. I thought about him flying off to Ecuador soon and flying off to college soon after that I thought about the possibility that Sarah might fly off to heaven sooner than we all hope.

By the time he finally got to those words, "Fly to Jesus," I was an absolutely, completely, totally teary mess. Nathan looked just a tad alarmed to see that his singing had made me cry but after casting a sympathetic look in my direction, he sang on to the end.

As I listened to his warm, resonant voice filling the sun-splashed room, I felt such peace. For a few moments, it seemed like the roles had been reversed and my child had become the lullaby singer, the comfort giver, the voice of healing to my soul.

On a quiet Sunday afternoon, in a bedroom filled with all the precious pieces of his life, I listened to my son sing his heart and I heard the peace of heaven in his voice.