I will always remember Dad’s singing. He always sang. And twice today I’ve been reminded of his singing so clearly that I could almost hear him over my shoulder.
When I was growing up, he and I sang in the church choir together. I got used to hearing his baritone right behind me. There are some songs that, still, if I hear them, I can only hear his clear voice belting them out. (Belting is exactly the word I want here, because I know Dad believed that if a song was worth singing, it was worth singing for everyone to hear).
It wasn’t just at church he sang, though. He made songs up all the time. He’d create parody songs on the spot, or make up something about being stuck in traffic or not being able to find peanut butter. (I do the same thing. I think it annoys my kids, especially when my songs are about how Walmart has been rearranged again, and I can’t find anything.)
On the last few days I spent with my dad, he sang. One of the nurses commented that he was always singing, and that she liked hearing it. I’m sure it was quite different than their normal background sounds of beeps and buzzes.
As we were chatting and I was knitting, Dad said, “Have you heard my new favorite song, Di?” At my headshake, he pulled a song sheet from his pile of papers and got ready to sing. I’m thankful that I put down my knitting and grabbed my phone to record it.
It wasn’t the full baritone I was used to, and he wasn’t loud enough to hear much beyond the room, never mind to the back of a church. But as listened, I knew why this song was his new favorite.
THERE IS A HOPE that burns within my heart,
That gives me strength for every passing day;
A glimpse of glory now revealed in meager part,
Yet drives all doubt away:
I stand in Christ, with sins forgiven;
And Christ in me, the hope of heaven!
My highest calling and my deepest joy,
To make His will my home.
There is a hope that lifts my weary head,
A consolation strong against despair,
That when the world has plunged me in its deepest pit,
I find the Savior there!
Through present sufferings, future’s fear,
He whispers ‘courage’ in my ear.
For I am safe in everlasting arms,
And they will lead me home.
There is a hope that stands the test of time,
That lifts my eyes beyond the beckoning grave,
To see the matchless beauty of a day divine
When I behold His face!
When sufferings cease and sorrows die,
And every longing satisfied.
Then joy unspeakable will flood my soul,
For I am truly home.*
A year and a bit after the last time I heard him sing, I’m grateful that he is truly home.
*Lyrics to “There is a Hope” by Stuart Townsend and Mark Edwards