Sunday, October 18, 2009

Empty boxes and full hearts

We finally unpacked the last box.

I know, I know. It's been four months. This box has been sitting in our closet for the majority of them. But -really! - we were unable to put it away until now. It held piano music.

Yesterday we arranged and rearranged - and sat on our haunches and arranged theoretically - the living room until it was JUST PERFECT. Our (new-to-us) piano is where it was always meant to be, and it has its own handy dandy Piano Music Holder Thingy.

I sat on the freshly-washed carpet (we were ambitious yesterday) and s p r e a d. Piles of music surrounded me. There was a pile for country, a pile for Broadway, a pile for guitar, a pile for classic. And more. Many of the sheets were unbound, and Canon in D was all mixed up with Fur Elise and Blues Boogie and Sonatina in G and You'll Be in My Heart.

It took a while, but everything is nicely organized and beckoning to be played.

This morning, by some miracle, things were running smoothly. My Man and I were ready, the church bags packed and the kids playing quietly. It was still two hours til church and I'd already read the lesson.

My feet steered themselves toward the living room. I opened the piano lid, feeling the ivories beneath my fingers - smooth and promising. The Church-y Music Drawer yielded a song I hadn't played in a long time - a song laden with memories and emotion. "Firmes em Ti," or "Steadfast in You."

(Open up another tab and listen to it here while you finish reading. Please? Pretty please? And just so you know, I don't know the people in the video. Sorry.)

Images of my precious youth flooded my mind. I saw sweet Dayse - so quiet, so sweet. Always willing to take on an extra service project and ease my burdens. I saw Patricia. Smiling, of course. Cracking crazy comments and making sure no one is left out. I saw Alexia. Probably with reggae on her earphones, but with her testimony always on her tongue. My Jessica. So insecure. Spilling her heart out to me, wetting my shoulder as I wet hers.

They - along with an army of girls and boys from all over the Jundiai area - sang that song in a regional fireside over a year ago. I got to play the piano for them. For months we rehearsed. There was plenty of goofing off - plenty of exasperated leaders and threats and stern looks and telling-offs. I doubted whether it would really happen.

The day arrived. The projector was broken. One of our soloists didn't show. Someone forgot the sheet music for one of the songs. Two of the wards were an hour late and I was holding back laughter and "I told you sos."

And we began. The opening prayer invited the Spirit and asked the participants to be open to His word. The light from those amazing young men and women filled the room. The audience was silent as they poured their whole souls into the music. The notes and our hearts swelled. When they sang the final chorus:

(in English)
Steadfast in you
Steady and true
Abounding in the good works
That you sent us here to do
Like a million stars
Lighting up the night
We are your youth
Ever strong
Ever true
Ever steadfast in you

(Complete English lyrics here.)

Tears rained down - because these teenagers really meant it. They lived those words. They exemplified what being a Latter-day Saint is all about, and their music penetrated us with the truth and naked honesty in their voices.

As I played their song this morning, I heard those voices all over again. They sang in my ear, accompanying me, whispering words of encouragement and hope: We love you, Becky. We love you and we miss you. Thank you for being our leader and a part of our lives. You really did help us.

I miss them. I miss them so badly.

I am so grateful for the chance I had to know them. I am so grateful that they let me into their lives. I am so grateful for the challenges and trials they presented - how they pushed me to become a better leader. I will never forget their faces - imprinted on my heart with undeniable power.

They changed me. And I'm so glad they did. That steadfast, mighty army that I got to captain for a very little while.

I miss them. I miss them so badly.


Kristina P. said...

I have no doubt that they miss you too.

Melanie J said...

It's amazing what music can do, even for someone like me who has no gift for it. Certain songs can break my heart or heal it.

Perpetual Mommy Exhaustion said...

Experiences like this (and of course sacred covenants) are the reason I can't ever say "no" when a call is extended. Service always changes you. Some of my scariest and hardest callings have been my most rewarding. What a privilege it is to be allowed to help the Lord build his kingdom! I love my calling, and I will cry when they fire me. ;)
PS-You inspire me and I sure do like you.

Rocketgirl said...

I read your last post while doing a midnight feeding and couldn't comment, but I've been thinking about it non-stop, and then I read this and I want to give you a wee bit of a standing ovation. Be proud to be a Molly - some people (me included unfortch) don't have those amazing skills you "Mollys" posses - the ability to make things beautiful, to be sweet and strong at the same time, to make food people wouldn't mind eating, and most important in my mind, have the ability to play the piano. So few women now have that gift to be able to lay the foundation for a song and even though I've played my whole life, I can't play a single dang hymn. It's just not something Heavenly Father meant me to do. My hands can't do it and I envy you. So much. I know they miss you too...
PS (I loved your use of "chique-y" in your last post too - that word always makes me giggle:)

Head Nurse or Patient- you be the judge said...

Music is such a powerful link to memories. I can bet there are more than a few of the ward who miss your family desperately. Your hearts were bound to theirs. Hopefully you will be able to make trips back as often as you can- no small task I know.

Tamra Watson said...

Sniff, Sniff...

Thanks for making me trunky.


and FYI, you'll always miss them, until you'll sit down with them in the Celestial kingdom. That's what true love is.

Kimberly said...

I like what Tamra said. Such a simple truth.

Even though your heart is aching, reading this post just stretched mine...made me eager to find people to love and cherish the way you love and cherish those youth.

My heart envies the size of yours, I think.

SO said...

I, like Kristina, am sure that they miss you too. What wonderful memories you have.

Rachel Sue said...

How wonderful for all of you to have that experience together