Do you remember that one book that you read early in your life that changed the way you looked at the world? That book.
I do. It was called Too Old To Cry, Too Young To Die. I know. A bit deep, right?
Well, I read it in college. I think I bought it at a book fair because it grabbed my attention. Why in the world would a book about children dying early catch my attention? That seems so dark. But, I bought it.
I read it over and over again bringing myself to tears each time. It told the stories of children with terminal illnesses. I read it in between classes, and I read it backstage as I prepared to join our group of singers on stage. I read it nonstop. And I cried.
A girlfriend observed me crying before I went on stage one evening and commented that I needed to stop reading that book before we sang. We were background vocalists (BGV’s) for an evangelist, and our stage performances were live and needed to be perfect. I mentioned that I had no understanding of the hurting people in the audience, and was trying to grasp that kind of pain—the kind of pain that drives one to bring his or her family member to an evangelistic, megachurch healing service in a wheelchair seeking some sort of hope. That kind of pain. I did not know that kind of pain.
She was probably right, but I couldn’t stop reading it.
I recently found that no-longer-in-print book as I was cleaning out our garage. Four years after Robert’s passing and into our 39th year of marriage, I found the book that prepared me for the pain I would know. I became the church attendee wheeling my son into a church service seeking hope. The very people I was seeking to understand from those stages, I had become: that mom; that family; that pain.
My deep passion to comprehend drew me like a magnet to those stories in the book as a young adult. Now as a mom of adult children, I seek to duplicate in this blog what I felt when I read that one book. Who are these children? Who are these family members? What is this pain? How can I help ease such disappointment?
I have become a story in that book. I don’t remember any book more completely. I have not lived any other book. Out of print, but still living in my soul like a broken record on repeat.
I believe God had a plan to draw me into this world of the unimaginable. He used many things and people to do so. But, none like that one book.
Listening Library: Kelly Clarkson It’s Quiet Uptown-The Hamilton Mixtape YouTube Live on the Honda Stage at iHeartRadio (Lin-Manual Miranda)
“Even though I walk through the [sunless] valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod [to protect] and Your staff [to guide], they comfort and console me.” (Psalm 23:4 AMP)
It’s Quiet Uptown
There are moments that the words don't reach There is suffering too terrible to name You hold your child as tight as you can And push away the unimaginable The moments when you're in so deep It feels easier to just swim down
And so they move uptown And learn to live with the unimaginable
I spend hours in the garden I walk alone to the store And it's quiet uptown I never liked the quiet before I take the children to church on Sunday A sign of the cross at the door And I pray That never used to happen before
If you see him in the street
Walkin by himself, talkin to himself
You knock me out, I fall apart
Look at where we are Look at where we started I know I don't deserve you But hear me out That would be enough
If I could spare his life If I could trade his life for mine He'd be standing here right now And you would smile, and that would be enough
Do you like it uptown
It’s quiet uptown
They are standing in the garden
Standing there side by side
She takes his hand
It's quiet uptown
Forgiveness, can you imagine
Forgiveness, can you imagine
Look around, look around
They are going through the unimaginable
It's Quiet Uptown lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc.
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