I walked a mile with Pleasure, she chatted all the way;
But left me none the wiser for all she had to say.
I walked a mile with Sorrow, and ne’er a word said she;
But, oh, the things I learned from her when Sorrow walked with me!
– Robert Browning Hamilton
Nearly ten years had passed since Eli died and Nancy and I had only seen each other a couple of times. We had a lot of catching up to do, so while our husbands discussed a remodeling project we covered a decade in a matter of minutes. She showed me a lovely assortment of goats milk soaps she had made, beautifully wrapped and ready for gift baskets.
We cried as she described the day of the accident and spoke of the faithfulness of God through the days and weeks that followed. We laughed as she introduced me to the three beautiful children the Lord had blessed them with since that time. Her eyes sparkled as her oldest son entered the room. Zach, who had suffered for months in the hospital, was now a handsome young man who had managed somehow to find his smile again.
And then there was Heidi.
She was almost four years old when it happened, and she was there at the scene of the accident: old enough to know that something terrible had taken place, old enough to be traumatized and feel her family’s pain, but not old enough to understand the depth of that loss or why Eli wasn’t coming home; old enough to be told he had gone to live with Jesus but not old enough to know what forever meant – certainly not old enough to have a full-sized harp, which is exactly what she wanted for her next birthday.
Her parents didn’t understand her request and frankly, were puzzled by it. After all, they weren’t that musical and couldn’t imagine why, of all instruments, she would have her heart set on that one!
Years passed and with every birthday that rolled around, Heidi reminded them of her request. The autoharp they gave her was nice but she wanted a real harp for her birthday. So finally, once she was big enough to carry it, Heidi got that harp, even though her mother had to drive her 40 miles to the city for lessons. And now, this beautiful young lady with strawberry blonde hair and shining eyes was standing in front of me, smiling shyly as I voiced my surprise in seeing her walk in with a full-sized harp.
“This is nice,” I thought, completely unprepared for the rush of emotions that would wash over me as she began. That girl could play!
I stared hard out the window, hoping to get control of that huge lump in my throat, but to no avail. I trembled as I fought to stifle the sobs erupting uncontrollably as a picture flashed through my mind. It was Eli running through a field of flowers and sunshine – smiling and waving, mischief in his eyes as he called for Heidi and the rest of us to join him.
It took me quite awhile to regain my composure after that, for in that moment, the mystery of eternal life didn’t seem mysterious at all – it’s promise, once distant and unimaginable, seemed well within our reach. It was almost as though the windows of heaven had opened up to our curious gaze and the angels strained to listen as a young girl took the stage and stormed my heart at a little-known country venue in a once-in-a-lifetime exclusive Concert for One.
Music is a gift from the heart of God, given to bless mankind; mend the broken heart, heal the wounded spirit and soothe the restless soul. He sings over his children and quiets us with His love. He sends us special moments of inspiration when we least expect them and need them the most.