Sunday, June 03, 2012

Amazing Grace

Yesterday, I faced a tremendous exercise in mind-over-matter.  I was asked to sing at the funeral of a dear friend who died too soon after losing a long battle with breast cancer.  Her favorite song was Amazing Grace, and that was the song her family asked me to sing.

If you have ever sung at a funeral, you understand how difficult it can be.  It's hard to keep your emotions in check as you listen to the family and friends of the deceased sharing their happy memories with that person.  The first time I practiced the song with my mom (who accompanied me on the piano), I barely got through the first line before my emotions got the better of me and I was unable to continue.  I wondered, if I'm this much of a mess while practicing, how will I ever be able to sing this at the actual funeral?  There's a particular line that says, "'Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home."  Every time I got to that part of the song, I couldn't help but think about how Missey was no longer with us -- Heavenly Father had called her home.  My heart ached for her husband and kids, as I can't even imagine what they are going through.

When we were practicing on Saturday morning before the funeral, my perspective changed.  I realized that, even though we are sad because we will miss her, there is much more reason to be happy than sad.  Missey is no longer suffering.  She has been led home by the grace of our Heavenly Father, and she was received with anxious and loving arms by those who went before her.

The final verse of Amazing Grace says:

"When we've been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We've no less days to sing God's Praise,
Than when we've first begun."

I had sung this song many times before, but I don't think I had ever thought about what this verse means.  It means that our days are not numbered.  It means that even after our day of probation comes to an end, we will continue to live on into eternity.  How comforting, and how true this is!  I am so grateful for that knowledge.  I am so thankful to my Savior for making it possible for me to return to the presence of my loving Heavenly Father again.  I am so grateful to Him for making it possible for me to be with my sweet wife and my wonderful family forever.  

I was able to sing the entire song with a smile on my face.  


Eliza said...

Thank you, Vince, for sharing this very beautiful and personal experience and testimony. I'm sure your friend Missey was smiling the entire song too.

Mara and Jae said...

i bet it sounded amazing vince! i wish i could've been there to hear you. props to you.

mary elizabeth said...

you are amazing.