06 July 2014

All the Way with Jesus

{Today I played Blessing by Laura Story while two sisters sang at 
their brother's funeral.  Play the music while you read, if you wish.}

I sat at the table on a regular Friday afternoon eating a taco.  My husband answered his phone, and before he could hang up to tell me the news, the tears came.

I took another taco-bite, hardly tasting anything.  Everything had happened so fast.

We've lived here less than a year, and when we came, we really didn't know anyone--except that a close friend said she knew someone here, and put me in touch with a family she thought we'd enjoy getting to know.  

They invited us over that first Sabbath, the one we would have spent in a hotel room if it hadn't been for them, and before we knew it we were fast friends.  Quickly and firmly bonded, all in an afternoon's Sabbath rest.

They'd all three welcomed us--father, mother, son.  Daughters gone to college started to hear about us as we spent more Sabbath afternoons talking and walking as well as late Saturday nights with their family playing games.  We laughed often and much, the three of them and the two of us, together.

With summer vacation came that dreaded relapse no one thought would rear its ugly head.  Relapse worked fast, and hardly three weeks later, a vibrant nineteen-year-old went to sleep in Jesus.

Daughters came home as often as they could during those tough weeks.  They knew it would be hard, but they wanted to sing for their brother's funeral.  Oh, those precious girls!  I wanted to make everything better, but all I could really do was say, "Oh, friend, I'd be so honored to play the piano for you."

There's no class in college or graduate school that really prepares you to play the piano at funerals.

Of course you learn all along that you can't really think about much outside your piece while you're performing, and you learn to focus on reading the notes if they're in front of you, or at least thinking about them in several different ways if they're not.  You learn to tune out distractions, and you learn to follow the singer.

So in that sense, you're prepared.  You've been learning in every lesson and every class how to get through a piece at a funeral, but when it comes down to it?  

There are no words.

The two sisters dared something incredible, singing faith and acceptance and blessing with their brother lying cold right in front of them.  You don't dare let them down by falling apart at the piano.  No, you must dare with them, with faith that Jesus is coming again soon, that He might actually work some kind of blessing out of all this pain. 

You take your familiar seat at the piano, the same one where a young man once sat to play this very song for his sisters to sing.  Back then, he'd just been diagnosed with leukemia.  Today, they sing without him, but for him, or really for Jesus, trying to hold on even now.

You determine to play from your heart, but not so intensely that you break down and can't play anymore.  You start, they sing at all the right times, you all three get through somehow, you walk  back to your seat in a crowded church sanctuary, the tears come.

And Jesus is never so precious than on a day like today.  

During the days right before his death, he kept saying, "All the way with Jesus."  That's how we're all planning to go forward from here, all the way with our Savior.  We don't know any other way, really.  

We'll remind each other often.  We've laughed together, and now we've cried together.  It's only fitting for us to link arms and walk together on the pilgrim pathway leading all the way home.


  1. oh, that's so heartbreaking! I want to listen to the song later (I'm at a room with friends and family)

  2. I'm so touched that you could be there. Almost as if you were there for me. It is so hard to play and sing when the one you love won't wake up again until Jesus comes. I've been in that place before.

    I found out just before the Sabbath sermon, all about what Jesus did and does for us. As we listened to the whole story, tears fell for two reasons. For loss and for hope. All the way with Jesus. Yes.


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