Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Singing Yourself to Death

Speaking as a guy who has not only sung but taught a large number of silly old camp songs throughout the last 50+ years, I burst into tears when I read these opening paragraphs from Carolyn Arends' article/blog, "Going Down Singing." You can read the whole thing here: http://angelwrestle.blogspot.com/2011/04/going-down-singing-why-we-should.html

The day before he died, my father wore what his doctors called the "Star Wars mask"—a high-tech oxygen system that covered most of his face. Pneumonia made his breathing extremely labored, but that didn't keep him from chatting.

"Pardon?" my mom would ask patiently, trying to decipher his muffled sounds. Exasperated, he'd yank off the mask, bringing himself to the brink of respiratory arrest to ask about hockey trades or complain about the hospital food.

After several hours, he gave up on conversation. He started singing.

"What are you humming?" my mom asked. My dad repeatedly tried to answer through the mask before yanking it off again. "With Christ in the Vessel, I Can Smile at the Storm," he gasped. "Wow," murmured my mom, before singing it with him.

My dad learned "With Christ in the Vessel" at Camp Imadene in 1949, the summer he asked Jesus into his 8-year-old heart. Six decades later, hours before his death, that silly old camp song was still embedded in his soul and mind, and he was singing it at the top of his nearly-worn-out lungs.

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Truth is...there are far worse things to have permanently fixed in one's brain than "We Are One in the Spirit" and "I Have Decided to Follow Jesus."

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