My mother-in-law passed away unexpectedly last Monday. She was a wise woman for sure!
There are many things I could say about her, but instead I want to focus on one thing - her love for music. Love for music is a family thing. My husband and his family sang together as he was growing up. As time went on and her children got married and moved out on their own, Alice continued singing with her husband and in her church. More time passed and my mother-in-law aka Alice aka Grandma also sang to her grandchildren.
Alice also enjoyed listening to her family sing! She encouraged the grandchildren to sing songs they were learning for others. It seems fitting that my youngest is processing recent events through music. This morning my girl was singing a unique composition about the events of last week. She started with a borrowed phrase, "It's so hard to say good-bye" then played the piano freestyle and sang several lines about the funeral service and ended with a chorus of, "And I will miss her very very much!"
While Alice loved music, she was selective about her music. She was partial to the old hymns and not so fond of contemporary Christian music. If you listen to family reminiscence long enough you may hear tales of contraband music, but you didn't hear that from me! In recent years, Alice has been spending multiple weeks per year at my house, where I would only listen to Christian radio stations. On various occasions she questioned the music to which we were listening - a wise move. It is wise to know what you are listening to and to be sure you agree with it. It is unwise to fill your mind with songs that contain questionable messages or inappropriate lyrics. Give this some thought especially if you have young children.
Alice's last months were affected by a second stroke. Her ability to speak was greatly affected and likewise her ability to sing. We didn't hear her sing as much. But she still enjoyed listening to music and would quietly observe as her granddaughters practiced music for church. One song in particular seemed to become a favorite. She didn't talk about it and state it as a favorite, but it was one of the few songs I actually heard her sing along with when it came on the radio. The song is 10,000 Reasons by Matt Redman and ends with these lyrics, "And on that day when my strength is failing, The end draws near, and my time has come; Still my soul will sing Your praise unending..."
I am thankful for those girls who practiced the song enough for Grandma to learn it. And I am thankful for a mother-in-law whose soul kept praising even when her speech and strength were failing.
No matter what circumstances come in 2013, will you be able to keep on praising? The song also says, "Whatever may pass and whatever lies before me, let me be singing when the evening comes." May that be true in my life...
"Great is the LORD, and most worthy of praise." Psalm 48:1a