JOY, JOY, JOY, JOY, DOWN IN MY HEART!!
Some of my memories of growing up are connected to music. I believe I have always had a love of music. I have always had the desire to play an instrument or to be able to sing. To this day, I still cannot sing on key, but I still try. No one can take that away from me. I have told my husband and family that when I get to Heaven, I will be able to sing in God’s choir and sing praises to HIM!
As a child going to church, all those beautiful hymns are entrenched in my memory. I can recall them from time to time when I stop rushing from place to place. Sitting in church and hearing and singing those hymns told the story of Jesus and how I knew even then that I needed HIM and that HE loved me. It was not until I was older that I fully surrendered my life to Jesus and put my faith and trust in HIM. The Lord was drawing me to HIM ever so gently because, you see, He knew the plans that He had for me…..to give me a hope and a future, to prosper me and not to harm me. Those hymns were like hearing God’s Word in a way that I could understand at an incredibly young age. Much joy was received from my early days in church!
Junior Choir and Youth Choir in church were especially important. Even though I could not sing very well, I loved participating. All of this placed a song in my heart. When I was in Junior High School, I was able to go to summer camp for a week at Lake Stephens in Oxford, MS. I feel sure it was a sacrifice for my parents to send me, but it was an experience that I will never forget. At night when it was time for lights out, the Lord’s Prayer was played over a loudspeaker. Tears would flow every night. I do not know if I was homesick or if the Lord was softening my heart. It could have been a little bit of both. I will never forget hearing that beautiful Lord’s Prayer played every night. There was also a place at Lake Stephens that was called Vesper Hill. There was a trail that led to the top where a large Wooden cross stood. We would sing camp songs and have a devotional there every evening. “Kum Ba Yah, My Lord” is one of the songs we would sing. It means Come by Here, My Lord. That gave me joy unimaginable!
One of my sisters played the clarinet in the school band. This same sister also had a ukulele and tried to teach me how to play it. I remember getting her ukulele and strumming the tune she taught me. The tune was “Five Foot Two, Eyes of Blue”. That gave me much joy!
A neighbor had a piano in her home because her daughter took piano lessons. This sweet lady would let me play on that piano from time to time. My parents could not afford to buy a piano or pay for lessons. But somewhere along the way, I had taught myself to read the notes with my right hand, the melody. I also learned to play a few little “ditties”. That gave me joy!
When I was still in school, the band director asked me if I would like to learn to play the bassoon. I am not sure why he asked me though. The school had a bassoon that no one was using, and he offered to teach me. I was extremely excited that he made this offer. So, the story goes that I tried and tried but just could not play that instrument. It was difficult to handle. At least, I tried. That, too, gave me much joy!
After I married and had my own children, one of my relatives let us borrow their piano that they did not use any more so that my children could take piano lessons. My daughter learned to play and did well. My son decided to try lessons, too, but it ended up not being for him. That was okay. I believe he was glad he tried. From time to time, I would sit down at that piano and read the notes and play. All of this gave me great joy!
After my daughter married and had children of her own, she wanted them to have an opportunity to learn to play the piano. At first, they learned to play on a keyboard before their parents found a piano to purchase. All three of the grandchildren learned to play very well and will always have that to fall back on when they decide to play again. I was able to go to some of their recitals, which was especially special to me. One of the granddaughters still plays well today. I love listening to her play. She even plays some of the hymns that I grew up hearing and singing when I was a child. All of this gives me joy, joy, joy, joy, down in my heart!! And still does to this day!!
My granddaughter suggested that I bring their keyboard to my house and try to play. She even gave me some instructions on how to begin, along with some of her early music. That keyboard is now here in my home, and every now and then, I get it out and play some hymns. Just the melody, of course, but I am playing. What a joy that is!
Fast forward to the present, here I am, a daughter, a wife, a mother, a grandmother, and I have no regrets for not having been able to play and sing like other exceptionally talented people can. All those things relating to music as I was growing up have had a great effect on who I am today. I especially enjoy listening to hymns being played and sung. This music quiets my soul and gives me peace in a world that is so torn with strife and hatred. I can slip away to a quiet place and rest in the Lord. To say that I am thankful for music is an understatement. Music is a part of my very fiber. It is one way that I can worship the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords! Joy that is unspeakable!!
“HE (Jesus) withdrew………to a solitary place.” Matthew 14:13
Sometimes, in all the humdrum of life, it is a good thing to withdraw in a quiet place and rest. I am constantly being reminded to “Be still and know that HE is God.”
And I can rest in that! Amen