Words of Hope: Sing for Joy to the Lord

Dad loved to sing, and for a long time, he was not good—so poor people thought he purposely mocked the song when he sang in church. Yet, Dad still sang— in church and in public. He loved to sing the National Anthem at camp, whereby the coaches would hurry to join him if possible to keep it from going awry. He loved to sing hymns, one of his favorites was Blessed Assurance. But honestly, it was pretty painful to hear.

When Natalya, his oldest grandchild, was cast as Cosette in Les Mis, he saw the show about 18 times. He loved to walk around crowded places singing one of the famous lines from the show “24601!” If you don’t know the reference to that, you will join the countless people who also had no idea what he was singing about when he walked around town singing/shouting this line everywhere he went.  

Last year, Dad watched Natalya teaching voice lessons online. She has a studio in New York City and is a fantastic coach and teacher like her grandfather. Dad LOVED to listen to Natalya teach voice. After listening to several lessons, he asked her, “I am such a terrible singer. Do you think there is any way you could teach me to sing?”  

Natalya launched into weekly voice lessons with Papa. She would say that Dad was her most challenging student and her easiest. He was difficult because he had never trained to match pitch and couldn’t tell if he was singing high or low; sometimes, he wouldn’t even come near the note. Patiently, gently Natalya helped my Dad find his voice. She also would say he was her best student because every lesson was filled with wonder, gratitude, awe, and thanksgiving. He loved to sing, and he felt so grateful that he could get a little better each lesson.  

Right before he had lung damage, Natalya captured a video of him singing, “Holy, Holy, Holy,” He sang with such beauty, the family listened in astonishment. I know now that Natalya was preparing him to do what he loved to do with the one he loved the most. Natalya was preparing him to sing for the Lord— but this time face to face.

“I will sing to the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.” (Psalm 104:33). 

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