I pondered all this as the funeral service got underway. And when we began to sing a congregational hymn—“It Is Well With My Soul”—I heard a wavering but clear tenor voice. I looked over at Grandpa, and he was singing along confidently. It is well with my soul….
This moment became an epiphany of sorts: Spirit communes with spirit no matter one’s age, or gender, or mental acuity. Grandpa’s musical memory served him when his conscious memory couldn’t; truly all was well between his soul and God.
Every couple of weeks now I go visit my mom in the memory care unit of her retirement community. She’s 93 and doesn’t remember when I last visited or that I might be coming again on a particular day. But I come and I sit with her during the Tuesday afternoon hymn sing just to enjoy her company without the pressure of trying to converse or think of news to tell her. (She won’t remember anyway.) We turn the pages in the large print songbook, and I sing alto to her soprano. I know most of the hymns by heart and so does she. Great is thy faithfulness … Savior, like a shepherd lead us … What a friend we have in Jesus … It is well with my soul.
I’m comforted to know that Spirit understands our deepest longings, our heaviest burdens, our sweetest joys. The child with Down Syndrome. The hearing impaired. The elderly with diminished mental ability. The child too young to know theology or doctrine—Spirit ministers to and communes with all. My fragile mother can sing along with her “Pop”: It is well with my soul….
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