Sunday, December 7, 2008

How Can I keep From Singing?

My sister Pegi passed away eighteen years ago today - hard to believe that much time has passed. I was a brand new priest, our girls were very young and it was so hard for all of us, but hardest on my parents. They had been with her in her final days, and yet the heartache nearly broke them. I had visited her in hospital in Florida the week she died, but had to return home for services. She had always been so good to me, taught me to play guitar, taught me all sorts of tricks and jokes - was the kind of older sister every child should be blessed to have. I had two, and now just one. All day long today, I have thought of her, and it always brings a smile. Over the years, the pain has diminished and in its place is that quirky trouble-making smile she had that promised mischief and that everything would be all right. And indeed it is. God has handled and remade me more times then I can count - all for the better. She was always laughing and singing, so I know she's continuing in heaven. And today, all that I have been able to do is sing. Sing for Pegi, and for all the sisters and brothers who have gone before who left a hole, but filled our hearts with loving memories. Her old songs pour through my mind and off my lips. I share this favorite hymn of mine that has been going through my head, knowing that she and the choir celestial are singing along. She had a knack for harmony -she always brought a sparkling depth and range to everything she did. So here's a Sunday song for all those moments when there is nothing else to do but sing.

How Can I Keep from Singing?

My life flows on in endless song above earth's lamentation,
I hear the real, tho' far off hymn, that hails the new creation.
Above the tumult and the strife I hear the music ringing.
It sounds and echo in my soul, how can I keep from singing?

What tho' the tempest loudly roars I hear the truth, it liveth.
What tho' darkness round me close, songs in the night it giveth.
No storm can shake my inmost calm while to the Rock I'm clinging.
Since love is Lord of heav'n and earth, how can I keep from singing?

When tyrants tremble, sick with fear, and hear the death knell ringing.
When friends rejoice both far and near, how can I keep from singing?
In prison cell and dungeon vile, our thoughts to them are winging.
When friends by shame are undefiled, how can I keep from singing?

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