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Posts Tagged ‘Gratitude tp God!’

Hymnbook

All of the arts in some way reflect human culture, but perhaps the mirror of music is outstanding.  Most every person on earth is aware of some kind of music, either as a participator, an appreciator, or simply an unthinking “bystander” who takes the current state of the musical art for granted.

Centuries of music are layered into the human experience, and the layers I love are often those which represent memories—times of life I delight in recalling and preserving over the decades.  Such is the case of the Gospel hymns which my Grandfather Longenecker played nearly every day on his violin.

And Chopin!  I grew up in a gracious home where Chopin’s Nocturnes and Waltzes resounded from room to room, thanks to my beautiful mother who was a classical pianist.  Today I play some of these.  Although I lack Mom’s highly trained skill, my passion and determination to play Chopin’s music is boundless and he is the composer whom I love the most.

Recently I met a new-to-me composer, Erik Satie—a contemporary of another of my favorites, Debussy.  I don’t know why I’d never met Satie before—except that my parents disliked discord of any sort.  I had to discover and fall in love with composers such as Stravinsky, Shostakovich, and Mahler on my own.  Satie has some uniquely discordant moments, so Mom might have considered him to be a bit off.

But Mom would have loved Erik Satie’s waltzes.  These poignantly exquisite melodies speak volumes to me of the era in which I grew up, a world which some individuals today may never even know existed—that tea-garden world of formal dances and gentility.  That time in history when boys and men still rose attentively when girls or women entered a room—a time of family dinners with cloth napkins and gracious apparel and behavior, formally set dinner tables where girls and women were carefully seated at the dinner table by boys and men.

In my home of origin, the grace and manners prevailed not only at the dinner table but throughout the days and years.  People respected other people enough to dress and look their best, with more slipshod attire appropriate only for fishing, gardening, and heavy or messy work projects.  People respected other people enough to really listen to them, rather than sit on the edge of their chairs waiting for a chance to barge back in and seize control of the conversation.

Along with Chopin, ongoing considerate conversation and a lot of laughter were the sounds of my childhood.  I was rather shocked when, as an young adult, I came to realize that some humans frequently yelled at occasions other than sporting events—and that I, myself, was unfortunately very capable of a yell.

In fact, I’d heard in-home yelling only one time in all my growing-up years:  when my UW-Madison student older sister, Ardis, brought home a Communist boyfriend named Benny.  Benny told my father that there would be a revolution in the USA, and that he—Benny—would have to assassinate his industrialist father if said father opposed the revolution.

My father YELLED!  (As a 9 year-old who regularly fed on mystery stories and spy movies, I found the yelling to be quite exciting!)

Human nature has not changed over the centuries; we are born flawed and in need of Christ’s redemption.  But outward human behavior—certainly in the USA—has changed in my lifetime of only 83 years!  And I truly believe that music heard and absorbed again and again does make inroads—whether benign or malignant—into the human psyche.  How grateful I am, for Gospel hymns, Chopin, and Eric Satie!  And the power of music, to mirror our memories and human values.

Margaret L. Been  —  June 20th, 2017

Note:  Sixty-four years ago today, I married the most precious husband on earth; and my love for Joe Been will never stop growing.  🙂

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It will be 2 weeks next Thursday since my lumbar fusion of L3 and L4.  Already, I feel improvedl  The post op stiffnes and soreness are nothing compared to the heavy ongoing lumbar and pelvic pain which followed me everywhere and kept me awake at night over the past 14 years.

From square one, my motto has been “GRATEFUL”!  I was grateful for the prayers that accompanied me into the surgery.  Prayers work!  This was the 12th surgery of my lifetime, some major and some minor.  Since I became a Christian nearly 40 years ago, medical procedures hold no terror for me—in our culture where medicine is traditionally an act of mercy.

And all along the way, in recent days, I uttered the word “GRATEFUL”.  When I literally couldn’t move my torso an inch, I was grateful for the strong, friendly aides who came alongside me—each lifting their side of the mat on which I was lying in order to elevate me to a sitting position, and then transport me to the necessary room where they propped me up so I wouldn’t fold into a heap.

I was grateful for the nurses and aides who managed to find me a can of CLASSIC COKE® in a world which seems to have gone nutty over those sickening diet sodas.  I was grateful for every helper who came in the room and asked Joe if they could bring him a treat or an extra blanket.

I was grateful for the parade of family members who visited—there was never a day without company.  One little great-grandson, 16 months old Cole, looked terrified when his Dad carried him to my beside.  Cole and I are great friends.  We make faces at each other and giggle.  But Cole is accustomed to our meeting at home among my collection of toys, at family style restaurants, or at our local park.  The sight of Grandma Margaret imcarcerated in an odd bed, with an IV bag attached fom a pole to a wrist and several weird auxilliary IV plugs sticking out of my neck (kind of like a Frankenstein monster scenario) was too much for a sensitive, thoughtful little boy.

However, I quickly peered through the slat of the bed’s arm cage, made silly faces, and blew kisses at Cole, who suddenly went into paroxyms of giggles.  Within minutes, Cole was tooling around to room on foot and trying to climb into my bed.  I was grateful!

Right after surgery, I decided to play “John Wayne”.  I soon refused the morphine pump and that potent “oxy” stuff which is fairly standard for a few days following a drastic procedure.  I bragged that I could “wing it” on vicodin which is near the bottom of the scale, narcotic wise.  The nurses rolled their eyes, but complied with my request.

What a silly goose!  Within hours, I repented of the John Wayne act, and I said, “John Wayne is not doing well!”  Within minutes. relief had been ministered—and it was obvious that the people in charge were relieved as well.  They don’t like having to lug a pain-ridden zombie around!

Grateful!  Grateful for the people in my life, for modern medicine which is God’s message of mercy to a physically fallen world!  Grateful for the kindness shown at every turn.  I am convinced that many people who work in hospitals have graciously enlarged, loving hearts!

I’m especially grateful to our ever loving, ever righteous, all knowing Lord.  He has known about every detail of our lives, since Eternity Past.  He knew that I would be at home today. recovering from surgery, no longer needing strong medication, and praising Him for His goodness.

But here is the most important point I want to make:  What if my surgery had gone badly rather than beautifully?  What if I were still at St. Luke’s experiencing painful treatments? 

What if I were alone on planet earth, rather than surrounded by loving (and fun-loving!) family members and friends?  What if my future looked bleak rather than exciting, as it is with my plethora of hobbies and interests? 

Even with all those “What ifs?”, God would still be all powerful and all good!

During my hospital stay, I met women who fit that tragic description which I’ve outlined in bold font above.  These women live painful, discouraging lives.  God is still God, regardless of our circumstances, but there is a huge world of people who are clueless:  individuals who do not realize that an eternity of blessing and joy can be theirs by simply acknowledging, “YES, I BELIEVE!  I WANT THE LORD JESUS TO BE MY LORD—AND I WILL APPROPRIATE HIS SACRIFICE AT CALVARY TO MY LIFE!”” 

My experience of Grateful, Grateful, Grateful”  has emblazoned me with a passion to share my gratitude for our gracious Lord with others—especially with lonely senior citizens who may think their lives are empty and meaningless.  There is no such thing as “meaningless” in God’s ecomony. 

Not only are there spiritual joys and the boundless truths of Scripture to be shared, but there is vibrant, exciting, creative, and abundant life to be shared at this very moment. 

Senior citizens have more time on their hands than anyone else on earth:  time to learn to play a musical instrument, time to learn a foreign language, time to paint in watercolors or oils, time to adopt and nurture a kitten or puppy who needs the love which only humans can share. 

Time to read classic literature to a child in an era bereft of classis.  Time to knit, time to crochet, and pass these time honored arts onto the next generation.  Time to observe the natural beauty which surrounds us ever day.

Time to share a pot of Earl Grey tea. served in lovely porcelain cups, while recalling The Depression and World War II—and how God prevailed during “the worst of times”.  Time to share our photo albums, and family stories—both humorous and poignant. 

Time to share our crafts, and time to encourage others to try a hobby he or she has always dreamed of doing.  (I would probably not be building a huge inventory of water color paintings and collage art if my good friend, Dee, had not jarred me by saying, “JUST DO IT!”)

Grateful!  That’s what I am:  grateful to God for His loving control of my life, and grateful for all the creative gifts he’s give me to share.  And that’s what I am longing to share—God’s spiritual life, and the everyday tangible evidence that we are made in the image of a creative GOd!

What a joy, to be GRATEFUL!

Margaret L. Been

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