Looking in the Right Places

Susan looks like a blond opera singer, but she actually does jazz standards, pop and gospel. House-sitting and water aerobics are currently her “real” jobs.  When I started “Music Is Good Medicine,” a program to take volunteer musicians to individual patients in the hospital, she was an employee who volunteered.  That is how we became friends.  She has a great voice and an even greater heart.

We were having lunch one day as I recalled to her how much I appreciated her kindness to my husband Jim and me after he had cancer surgery.  Jim was home convalescing, when she brought three of her friends to our tiny studio apartment to sing together for him.  Jim practices Buddhism and attends the United Methodist Church with me.  So, we call him a “MethoBudd.”  And he loves gospel music. We both cried when they sang, “The Storm Is Passing Over.” We had just been given the news that Jim had received a surgical cure from the cancer.  As I recalled that time and Susan’s kindness, I teared up again, over my banh mi sandwich.

Frederick Buechner, one of my favorite theologians, writes about where we might look for God in our ordinary lives. “The unexpected sound of your name on somebody’s lips.  The good dream.  The odd coincidence.  The moment that brings tears to your eyes.  The person who brings life to your life.  Maybe even the smallest events hold the greatest clues.  If it is God we are looking for, as I suspect we all of us are, even if we don’t think of it that way and wouldn’t use such language on a bet, maybe the reason we haven’t ‘found God’ is that we are not looking in the right places.” The moment that brings tears to your eyes.

I believe that God is love and that God’s love is incarnate (i.e. made real) in people, like Susan and her friends.  So often, seeing that love brings tears to my eyes.