Intense weekend…

This has been an intense weekend!

Friday we spent the day at the hospital, supporting a friend whose wife has been diagnosed with breast cancer–the kind that only 15% of breast cancer patients get…She was having surgery to determine what stage it is–and whether it was in the lymph nodes or not. We did a lot of visiting–but the more important thing was just being present.

Friday night we went to a funeral visitation…more on that friend below.

Saturday was spent at funerals–two friends. One of them was Millicent Daugherty–the lady I wrote the previous post about. It was obvious that she impacted a lot of people…people of all ages…because the church was full.

The other one was for someone I had only known for a few years. Ron was the partner of an organist friend of mine. He was diagnosed less than a year ago with ALS–an awful disease. It was difficult to see how quickly he went downhill–obvious every time I saw him. Another mutual friend of ours was going to play for his funeral, but Jan had a contract to be in Florida, doing a concert this weekend. So Aaron asked me to play. I was pleased and honored–and challenged!

There was a specific piece that Aaron and Ron liked–one that honored Ron’s Scottish heritage–that they had wanted at Ron’s funeral…one that Jan had learned well. I decided to see if I could learn it–at least well enough to be comfortable letting someone hear it. But with everything else going on, there wasn’t a lot of time–in actuality, only about 3-1/2 hours! And there are some very tricky places in it…sometimes the rhythm changing from 3 sets of triplets to3 sets of duplets and a triplet…sometimes right right hand playing 6 notes against 4 in the left hand (with the melody in the pedal)…

I got it to where I thought I could play it…and at Ron’s funeral Saturday morning, I was very blessed. The notes lay well under my fingers (and feet)…the adrenaline kicked in, but not enough to make me rush the piece…and I was able to play it in a way that gave the ministry I had hoped it would for Aaron.

Then this morning I preached! Our theme was “Good as New”–and with everything else that had been going on, I didn’t have as much time as I would have liked to prepare. But again, I was blessed. As I’d been thinking about the theme, there were two images that came to mind. One was of pieces of broken glass–things we throw on a junk pile…like we sometimes do broken lives.

And the other was of the way that artists can take those broken pieces…and make something new and beautiful out of them, just like God can do with broken lives.

So out of the intensity of this weekend…a reminder that God cares for each one of us–and just asks us to to be present with and for each other…