Another Hospital Moment
I have been singing with Voices from the Heart for 11 years. It’s a chorus made up of 200 women singing songs from all over the world. I was singing with them when Aidan was born and spent 3 months in the hospital. We had been learning a song by Charles Tindley:
Courage my soul and let me journey on, though the night is dark and I am far from home. Praise be to God, the morning light appears. The storm is passing over, Hallelu.
This became my anthem of strength. Our director taught us to nail that first hard “C” sound with everything we had. It’s a declaration of victory before a bloody battle ensues. At the time, I felt much more like the 3rd verse:
The stars have disappeared, and distant lights are dim,
My soul is filled with fears, the seas are breaking in.
I hear the Master cry, “Be not afraid, “tis I,” And the storm is passing over, Hallelujah!
I was certainly not feeling victorious but this song lied to me, wooed me, and eventually won me. We had also learned a song by Libby Roderick:
How could anyone ever tell you that you’re anything less than beautiful?
How could anyone ever tell you that you’re less than whole….how deeply you’re connected to my soul.
Aidan and I had spent 3 months hearing how “less than whole” he was. My husband and I had to counteract that message with everything in us, but I didn’t have it. He wasn’t connected to my soul. Aidan couldn’t look at me or give much expression at all. It’s hard to explain how empty he felt to me. I couldn’t even feed my own child. I’ve never felt like such a failure and such a universe away from my very own flesh. I needed to sing him out of that lost place. I sang this song hoping I could grow love in my heart and plant it deep in Aidan’s soul. Now, to me, he is whole and he is entirely mine.
One Monday night I journey out to Voices rehearsal after missing many, due to spending time in the hospital with Aidan. I was invited to sit in front of this diverse group of 200 singing sisters and they sang to me, “We’ll all go together to pull wild mountain thyme, all around the blooming heather. Will ye go, lassie, go?” This sounds like a small act but being on the receiving end of the sound of comfort, of unity, of compassion, is quite powerful.
This musical community and the songs we sang have been an anchor for me. There were several times during Aidan’s 3 month hospitalization that the doctors were very close to releasing him but Aidan always regressed at the last moment. One day in early June they said they would discharge him the next day. Of course, I was excited but I have to admit I was frustrated that this would all happen on concert day. We came home weary, excited and totally overwhelmed. My amazing husband looked at me and said, “Go. Sing. Do this for you.” It was my moment of hope and refreshment before walking right back into the storm.