I remember the day I said goodbye to Harry. I’d seen him two weeks earlier, in a lot of pain, but up, dressed and eagerly greeting friends who called. A week later, I heard he was worse. Monday he still got dressed. Wednesday he couldn’t get out of bed. On Friday I waited while the nurse made him presentable. That last day he wasn’t dressed at all—a shell of the man I knew and loved, lying beneath the covers. It broke my heart.
He was weak, but clear-minded as ever, asking, “Who’s there? Who is it?”
“It’s Beverley,” I answered softly.
“Oh, Beverley, Beverley . . .” he kept repeating my name until I reached his outstretched hand.
Tears filled my eyes. He looked so small and weak lying there, but his strong grip told me he was happy I’d come. But I almost didn’t go . . . .
Earlier that day, talking with a friend about farewell songs had triggered the memory of the song, “The Lord Bless You and Keep You.” I had pushed it away, but it wouldn’t stay gone.
The Lord began urging me to see Harry. “Go sing ‘The Lord Bless You’ to Harry.”
“Seriously, Lord? You know he’s too sick!”
God kept saying, “Just go sing it for Harry.” What a crazy idea! What would people think? For several hours the Lord kept prompting, “Just go. . . Just sing . . . NOW.”
Eventually, I found myself driving to Harry’s home, rehearsing the tune over and over. I’d learned it as a four-part choral piece, so I was improvising big time! The Lord and Harry would have to understand.
Things didn’t happen as I’d imagined—no “ta-dah!” moment, ushering me into Harry’s room. Hospice was waiting to take him to the hospital. My visit was an interruption.
“Lord, didn’t I tell you this was a silly idea?”
Harry’s voice, calling for me, melted my apprehensions. I moved closer. The nurse didn’t budge. I got close enough to talk to Harry. Holding his hand, I told him I had come just to sing a little tune. I glanced at the nurse.
“. . . And then I’ll leave.”
It’s hard to sing through tears, but I took courage from Harry’s smile. After a few deep breaths, I began. Harry squeezed my hand, then closed his eyes and relaxed.
No singing prizes or arrangement awards were earned that day, but this performance was between God, Harry, and me. I obeyed and just sang. I said goodbye and offered peace to this dear saint. I was the last visitor he received. By listening to God’s prompting, I blessed both Harry and myself.
As I left, he breathed softly, “Wasn’t that the nicest thing . . . .”
God never makes mistakes. He doesn’t scatter “oops, my bad!” moments across our paths to trip us up. He offers us opportunities to be Jesus with skin on. Who receives the greater blessing from these small acts of love He asks us to give in His name? Does it matter? Just sing.