|Posted on July 19, 2015 at 4:30 PM|
For ten years or so I’ve been going to the same small church in my town. I have always noticed the women singing and not too often do I hear the men. When I do hear them sing I make a big deal out of it because honestly, when a man sings I think it’s beautiful.
Occasionally I sit in front of Russell at church. When we stand to sing I usually tip my head back towards him and say “nice and loud now Russell” jokingly knowing he is not going to be singing because he never sings. I gladly accept his smile and I smile knowing I made him smile. That has always been good enough for me.
Last week Russell had surgery in his throat area. I heard that he was having some trouble swallowing so I figured eating and talking would be difficult too. I also heard that he would be out of work for several weeks recovering. I never expected to see him so soon however, Russell came to church today. That would have been enough of a blessing for me. It always feels good to see someone recover enough to come to church, especially when they have every excuse not to.
I had so many emotions swirling in me when I saw him- most of them guilty feelings. I never went to the hospital to see him like I planned. I never called him to tell him I was praying for him. I never sent a card. Yet with these thoughts in my mind, there was Russell sitting two pews in front of me. Thank You God for healing him this much so fast.
In my usual manner, when the music started I said loud enough for him to hear “I’ll sing for you Russell” thinking he couldn’t use his throat. “OKAY” he replied with a deep voice. Again I was stunned that he talked. Blessed again, I was. God is so good!
The church began singing the hymn and I heard a man’s voice. Is that Russell? I wondered. So I leaned forward to look at his face to see if his mouth was moving. I think he’s singing. I found my place in the hymnal and joined back in. I heard it again. Then the man’s voice grew louder. I saw his nephew look at him and laugh. I saw his aunt look at him and laugh. I looked at my friend and said “is Russell singing? Do you hear him?” She nodded and said yes. So I stretched my neck once again to look at his face and he raised his voice again and very clearly I heard Russell singing!
My heart trembled and my own voice failed me. Tears flooded my eyes and ran down my face; Russell is singing in church today, Hallelujah. I watched him in complete awe. He sang with a great big manly voice and I could not stop crying. I gave up trying to sing as I couldn’t see the words in the book. I just let the moment overtake me and I praised God in my spirit.
When the church finished singing and we all sat down, Russell looked back at me and asked “How’d I do?” to which I could only reply “you nearly killed me.” With a big smile he answered back “please don’t die.” We both laughed and I tried to gain my composure. I couldn’t. I excused myself during testimony time and remained downstairs through the announcements. I had another good cry and praised God without anyone looking at my ridiculous behavior.
I made it back upstairs just in time for the last song played during the offering. People do not always sing during this time, but some do. I usually know the song and sing it quietly. Russell sang this song too, very loudly. All I could think was that maybe he had an encounter with God at the hospital. Maybe he wanted to show God what was inside him all along but never could get out. Maybe he never had it inside him before. I wondered what made Russell sing but more than that I could not stop the tears from falling even after we stopped singing.
What a tremendous blessing it was to witness. How could I not write about it? I’ve written about lesser things because they were important or because they touched my spirit. This was huge to me; all these years joking around with Russell, always hoping to hear him sing, always wondering what he would sound like.
I may never know why Russell decided to sing. I do not need to know why. I am more than overwhelmed and I am still reliving it as I type this post. I have told people about it and will continue. Why? I don’t know. It blessed me. It is one of the many ways God blesses me and it was free. It was real. It was beautiful. I am glad I was not sitting in front of him today, for surely I would be in the hospital - most likely from having suffered a heart attack.
Russell, I know that Karen is probably going to forward this to your email because you do not get my blog posts. So I wrote this knowing full well you would see it. To answer your question “How’d I do?” I say “Do it again next week and I will let you know!” I should be recovered by then. Then I will sit in front of you so I can hear you and I sing along together and offer our praises up to God.
It’s the unexpected little things in life that collect throughout the day that give us Joy to get through the difficulties. Russell singing in church was one of many blessing I received today.
Here is the other: before even getting to church this morning, I walked out my door and as always I look down to beware of snakes. I saw this heart in the brick. I have never seen it there before. Looking back, God knew my heart was going to be busy today, He told me before I even got in the car.
Praise the Lord oh my soul!