Monday night I went to the PLU Christmas Celebration concert at Benaroya Hall... It was so magical, and here is why:
One of God's most precious & charished children sat next to me tonight. In clean- but well worn, stained clothes, hugging her beloved and soiled teddy bear to her chest, a woman in her late 30's, maybe early 40's, eyes blind, dug through her backpack and pulled out a rosary. During Chorale's first piece, she touched each bead, running it through her curled and slightly deformed fingers. At the end of the song, which was a magical latin piece sung by candle light, she waited just long enough after the 'last musical moment' and then let a little giggle escape as she smiled from skin-to-soul. Before the next song, it looked like she pulled out an old tape recorder, but I couldn't tell. (for her sake, I hope she was able to capture some of the music so she could bring it with her! Lord knows, she wouldn't be able to buy the cd!)
As we all stood up to sing the carol and the orchestra played the first two notes of a hymn I have never heard, she softly and delightfully exclaimed, "I love this one!" and sang- quite beautifully- every single word, as if singing in God's chorus of angels.
After the choirs had left the orchestra on stage for their instrumental pieces, by the third note of their first piece, my little angel-friend whispered "Hanson!" and, sure enough, the piece was composed by Jeffrey Bell-Hanson. At this point, she pulled out her rosary again. There is nothing quite so recognizable or comforting to a Catholic... hearing the soft click of the prayer beads, each tiny tap symbolic of a resounding plea for faith, peace, and God.
The second piece, also by Hanson, left her completely still- for the first time since she sat down, no rocking, no prayer beads, no movement whatsoever. She relaxed into the chair, allowing her weary self to rest, and an amazed and breathy "wow" was all she said as the piece continued...
The more solemn pieces invoked more emotions, more rocking, more clicking of the rosary beads, fervrent prayer, and-- I tell you-- the Kingdom of God came down to earth right there, at Benaroya during the Choir of the West performance of Long Long Ago. I know in my heart that the only reason I had words at this moment is so I can share this with you.
This child of God, this angelic voice, this woman of Faith, trapped inside a body that has been her enemy since birth, is exactly why I love God. Faith. Music. I long to hold her hand and pray with her. I long to worry for her, knowing full well that she has a hard life. I found comfort in the fact that she has her faith, her music, and thought to sneak that recorder in her backpack so she can carry this amazing gift of music that PLU brings to communities. I wish I could know her story! To share three cups of tea, to prepare and share a meal, to break bread, to laugh, cry, and pray with her, to share fellowship in the Lord.
I want to learn from her. So simple, such joy, such faith. Such a blessed soul.
She is my Christmas Angel.