I stood to sing today. It's something I've done a thousand times before. Familiar hymns at that, Amazing Grace and It is Well With My Soul. Who knows how many times I've sung them. But there was nothing familiar or comfortable about voicing these songs today.
Today I stood to sing with a podium as the only barrier between
me and the coffin. Inside the body of a 69 year old man suddenly killed
after a tragic accident. The story made the news but there were no
reporters today, just hundreds there to honor a life lost.
Just beyond the coffin sat his widow. I looked straight into her
tear-filled eyes as I sang the words, "When peace like a river
attendeth my way; When sorrows like sea billows roll..."
to her was the daughter mourning her daddy, tears streaming as I sang
to her, "Whatever my lot, thou has taught me to say..."
I wanted them to not just hear the words and notes but to find solace
in the promise that maybe not today, but someday they'd be able to say,
"It IS well with my soul."
With standing room only,
people stood as examples of lives touched by the testimony and life of
one man and his impact while on earth. His nephew wrote of experience
after experience that all lead to life lessons. Lessons from the life
of this man who served as a firefighter and taught those around him to
be prepared and expect the unexpected. Now his unexpected death was
being mourned by many, but his life was being celebrated because of his
Tomorrow isn't guaranteed but while we've been given today, this
moment, what impact are we making? Is my life worth a room full of
people who would share of life experiences and lessons they've learned
because of my example? How can you really know the impact you've had on
someone and the lasting impression it might leave in their life?
How many moments I have wasted, I don't even want to add them up. But the challenge is before me to make every moment count.
The other thing I've been trying to process is how you bring
yourself to a point where you can wade through the grief, suffer
through the pain, persevere through the trial, overcome the
circumstance...and be able to say "It is well with my soul..." Are you facing the unthinkable? Dealing with the unbearable? How does your soul find rest despite the raging storm?
It may not be today, but someday, may our souls find that solace.
Today I celebrate life. Today I honor service, life lessons, family, friends, impact, and a life of meaning. Today I offered up the sacrifice of song to a grieving widow in hopes that one day she, too, can say it is well with her soul.