Scripture Prompt: Exodus 15:21
Miriam sang to them, ‘Sing to the LORD, for he is highly exalted. The horse and its rider he has hurled into the sea.’
Can’t Hold It In
“Shush!” My harsh whisper was deafening in the library’s eerie stillness.
A few heads turned our way, and the teenage girl froze. Blushing, she sheepishly removed her earbuds. “Okay, okay,” she mouthed.
The room settled back into its state of artificial tranquility, and guilt washed over me as I walked briskly to the restroom. Once inside, I locked the door and stared at my reflection in the mirror. What I saw bore no resemblance to the handsome youth with the winning smile who decorated the covers my record labels. I was no longer looking into the eyes of an inspirational music artist. Instead, I found the haggard face of a balding, bitter old man staring back at me.
Without warning, an unruly memory washed through my mind– a most unwelcome visitor.
“Who inspires you most?” a young reporter had shouted over the crowd, face flushed with excitement.
Without hesitation, I had leaned toward the microphone. In an uncanny moment, the bustling crowd had grown quiet and still. “My mother,” I had said, flashing a brilliant smile. “She was a single mother and a working woman, but she spent every one of her days singing her heart out. I asked her about it once, and she told me that when the Lord puts a song in your heart, you just can’t hold it in.”
Spontaneous applause had broken forth, erupting into delirious cheers as the band played the opening chords to my fan favorite, “Can’t Hold It In.”
Years later, here I stood. An angry old man who couldn’t stand to hear a single note. Tears welled in my eyes. I had to go see her. It was time.
After work I sat in the comfortable hush of my sedan, steering toward the quiet retirement village I had found for my mother after her latest stroke. As I walked up the steps, I thought of the terrible things my mother had endured and silently vowed to make her comfortable.
The moment I stepped inside the nurse rushed toward me, hands over her ears. “She’s at it again,” the burly woman groaned, hurrying out the door. From deep within the living room came the sound of my mother’s painful moaning.
They told me she had started this after her third stroke, though no one knew why. “I don’t think she’s in any pain,” the nurses had said, bewildered.
One look at my mother’s face, however, told me everything.
She leaned back, eyes closed, her face aglow with a peaceful smile. As she tapped the arm of her chair in rhythm, she moaned.
Time stopped. She was singing, I realized. She had always seen blessings where I had seen trials, and even now she couldn’t stop her heart from singing.
Without a word, I knelt beside her and took her frail hand in mine. For the first time in years, I started to sing. Her eyes fluttered open in surprise, and with hearts full of joy, we let the song carry us heavenward.