Saturday, March 25, 2006

Peggy’s Garden of Kindness

Peggy loves to sing. She especially loves to sing in church. When we were first married she asked me to be honest with her and tell her what I thought of her singing. I was brutally honest as new husbands usually are. I told her that she couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket. How it must have hurt her, but she didn’t let me see it, or I just missed it as usual. I suppose she privately promised herself that someday she was going to show me.

Peggy has taken voice lessons now for at least 15 to 20 years. During this time she has sung at every opportunity the church could afford her; every service, every special occasion, holidays, productions and plays. For years she would try out for solos knowing she wouldn’t get them. She would encourage everyone else trying out for the same part, praying with them and truly happy when they got the part and not her. And then she would go back and do it again. I felt as if I were married to the choir. All our family events had to fit inside the choir’s schedule. I had to let her because that is what makes her happy, and more importantly, it is the call of God on her heart. I imagine that in heaven she will be in the tryout line for Seraphim if they’ll let her.

Peggy loves to praise the Lord. She loves to be a part of that great company in heaven that praises Him continually. She’s not just in the choir; she’s in The Choir. When she closes her eyes and sings to her God she knows that His purposes are being manifest in her. She knows quietly deep within her that God is working in His church and her heart. Her fear and trembling are put way away and she finds strength to face the difficult people and things around her.

She offers them kindness. Peggy is the kindest person I know. Not all the time and everywhere like she wishes she was, but most of the time and especially when it really really matters. At work she likes to play a game. When difficult people confront her she opens up and pours out kind words and sweetness just to see how long it takes to turn their attitude around. She loves to bless God and bless others.

If we had the ability to choose what would go wrong in our lives we would never learn a thing. But it’s during the times when things go wrong that you learn what you are really made of. It’s a beautiful garden. Peggy doesn’t see it, because she is always looking up. Kindness grows there, cultivated by the very hand of God. She has tended it in her heart for so long with praise it just seems as natural as drawing breath.

Cancer is a scary thing. Once you become aware of its’ potential the fear of it haunts you all of your life. It is a distant terror, not unlike other major catastrophes, but in our collective minds it is coupled with death. Cancer came to live in Peggy’s throat. It threatened to take her voice, to blot out the praises. Laughing in the face of God Cancer made a mistake. It must have caught this Freeloader of Rottenness off guard to find itself in a place where kindness for others was more important than fear for oneself. Peggy was afraid but she didn’t care. She was going to keep on singing, loving, praising, and letting God love others through her. It was harvest time in Peggy’s garden.

Peggy has shown me all right. Not just that she can sing, but that singing God’s praises brings God’s presence into our lives. There are worse things than Cancer, much worse.

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Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of our Lord, According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.

For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2nd Peter 1:2-8

2 comments:

  1. Lisa Miller10:20 PM

    Rusty, I love all of your writing. I find it inspiring and full of feeling. I also found myself chuckling a time or two. Keep it up my friend. Love to you and Peggy

    Lisa Miller in Virginia

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  2. Hello! Thank you for the explanation about "one hand clapping"... strangely enough I actually had someone demonstrate literally clapping with one hand... very odd... anyway! I just wanted to mention that I find it very interesting/cool that Aunt Peggy has taken voice lessons for years, and loves to sing and everything. I really love to sing as well, and I had the opportunity to take a voice class last year, which was cool, anyway... maybe it runs in the family? :-)

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