I have a story to tell in spite of the fact that I owe a friend a phone call. I probably should have done that first but I know she'll understand. The story comes about from my love of Hymns. I grew up singing them and many of them go deep in me. So deep in fact, that a few make me weep just hearing them.
Sometimes a particular song will come into my mind and I spend the whole day singing the words I remember and them humming the tune over hoping to remember more.
On Thurs. I walked into work and found a sack in the office with my name handwritten on the front. I grabbed it, smiling. I love surprises. Inside it were two books of old Hymns. Oh my Gosh, I love this, I thought as I opened one of the books and looked inside. It got better when I saw the what else was inside. The left side pages held the music and lyrics, on the right were the stories of how the songs came to be. Wow, I thought. It doesn't get much better than this. Anyone that knows me knows how much I love a good story. I love reading them and I love telling them. I had just hit pay dirt. This was the most amazing gift. I couldn't stop smiling.
There wasn't a card but I was pretty sure I recognized the writing on the bag. It was a friend that I hadn't seen in quite awhile. I knew she was back in the area and I had been thinking about her. We had talked about getting together for lunch, so I picked up the phone to call. When she didn't answer, I decided to take a chance and thank her for the books, so I left a message. In it, I went on about how much I loved Hymns and stories and what a great gift it was. I said I'd been thinking about her and hoped to get together with her soon. Before I hung up, I laughed and said something about if the books were not from her than at least I got to tell her she'd been on my heart, or something like that. Then I said goodbye.
All afternoon I thought about the moment I'd be able to dig into the books searching for all the songs that I couldn't quite remember. I couldn't wait to read the stories. I knew God was going to have something for me in there. When I got to my car I laid the books on the front passenger seat and glanced at them, as I began to head home.
Here's the crazy part. Sometime during the 40 minute drive home as I glanced at the books on the seat, I had a flashback of picking the books up in a bookstore. I remembered seeing the piano music in them and buying them for my friend, Vernita. She is a gifted piano player and has a sing-a-long Carol party every Christmas. I remember grabbing them at the last minute as a second thought. Almost selfish on my part because I know I pictured a great Hymn sing-a-long, (starring me ) with Vernita behind the piano bringing the songs back to life.
I suddenly felt embarrassed and foolish remembering the phone message I had just left her about this great gift and remembered that she was preparing to move. I pictured her going through things and making the decision to give me back the books. Oh Boy.
Before I got home though, God reminded me that my excitement in receiving them was genuine and that nothing had changed other than I was feeling embarrassed and forgetful.
God also reminded me that Vernita was a precious friend and that she would most likely laugh about this with me later.
I don't think I ever noticed or realized the songs stories were in the books when I gave them to her. At that moment in the gift store it had been all about the sing-a-long. At this point, God reminded me of my other friend Lisa who, like me, is a lover of old Hymns. She sings worship at church and in our small group. I also knew that she would love reading the stories behind them.
I decided that I would give Lisa the books at small group on Wed. night even though one of my hands might still be clutching the pages. I told Paul to be prepared to pry it loose if necessary.
At home, I took the books upstairs and found all those old songs that were buried in my spirit. I squawked with joy and sang with gusto while my gracious husband lied beside me in bed. He smiled during the first few renditions, began to frown a bit around number seven, and then somehow, managed to fall asleep.
I'm still reading the stories, but God did have something very sweet for me.
I'll share it with you tomorrow...and Vernita...I owe you another call.