Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Life Lessons of Mrs. Richards

Every Thursday night at choir practice, I try to nab the seat next to Mrs. Richards. I recently switched to singing alto, and I must admit, I'm not too good at following the alto part in my head. Mrs. Richards had a bout with pneumonia this summer and has switched to the Alto part as well. Of course, she is so talented and experienced in music, and can follow the alto harmony beautifully. It has been a great encouragement for me to be able to sit next to her, for a couple of reasons.

First, she is always gracious enough to help me when I ask. If I really don't understand a certain section, I'll just ask her for some guidance, and she patiently explains it to me.

Secondly, and most importantly, it has been such an amazing blessing to hear her heart expressed in the way she sings. Really, you can hear the cry of her heart as she harmonizes. One example of this is a jazzy rendition of "I Surrender All" in which Pastor Williams had her do the solo. It just didn't seem right for anyone else. Everytime I heard her sing it, she totally captured it. I think it's because I can see complete surrender in her life. She lives faithfully. It seems like I've been hearing that a lot--the necessity of being faithful to be used for God's purposes. I love it when we both are struck by the same song, and I share the part I love most, and she shares a part I hadn't thought so much about. This happened awhile ago with "To The Cross." I was struck by "with my selfish tears in tow, and with my fighting fears I go to the cross." I loved it when she then brought up "Part of me will tell it 'no,' but Christ was there before me so, driven by a prayer I go to the cross."

I started working on this post a few weeks ago, but hadn't finished it for lack of time. Last night I saw Tony Bennett, Carrie Underwood, Josh Groban and Michael Buble on Oprah. Tony Bennett is only a little older than Mrs. Richards, but now when he sings, he sounds absolutely empty--trying to grasp for something that has passed. I couldn't figure out exactly what was wrong, until it dawned on me: he was singing "The Way You Look Tonight." I love that song, I really do. But it was all about external beauty. When Mrs. Richards sings, the lyrics and the spirit of the song give her voice something to sing for. It may sound crazy, but I'd rather pick her mind than his, any day. The more I get to know her, the more I want to get to know her. Mrs. Richards has a lot of lessons to teach, and I'm just getting started.


  • At 12/14/2006 12:03 PM, Blogger j. otis merster said…

    God is good in giving us living examples of Godly women.

  • At 12/21/2006 11:07 AM, Blogger wagamama said…

    I am so encouraged that a college student your age is so sensitive to what God has to teach you through the people he has put around you. We can all use a Mrs. Richards in our lives! And with much grace and prayer, maybe we can be a Mrs. Richards for someone else!


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