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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Music (03/08/07)

TITLE: Harmony of Heaven
By Ann Grover
03/15/07


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The doctor’s words resonated in my mind.

Not the most virulent form of the disease, but it’ll still be a difficult time.

How difficult, how long, how anything? No matter how many answers I was given, they didn’t silence the questions that rose in a chorus inside.

“Mommy. Mommy?” My daughter’s voice broke through my reverie. Absent-mindedly, I poured her a bowl of cereal and set it on the table. How could life be so ordinary and so extraordinary at the same time? Perhaps, I should have put her cereal in a bone china bowl. Everything was out of time, out of synchronization. All because of one word.

Cancer.

“Will you read to me?”

“Yes, baby.”

“Can we go for a walk?”

“Not today.”

“Why not?”

“I’m tired.”

She eyed me with a puzzled look on her face and pouted, then fished in the milk for bits of cereal. The phone rang. More questions, promises of endless forms to fill out. They’d be the death of me. I grinned wryly at my pathetic sarcasm.

How long had this unwanted disease been developing inside me; when did the first cells begin dividing erratically, discordantly? Why could I not tell that I was harbouring something that was not in accordance with my being?

The fatigue had stolen over me until I felt as though I was dancing a waltz to four four time, out of step, out of time, not keeping up to the world around me, failing, falling.

“Mommy, I’m done. Story now?”

We cuddled on the sofa, both wrapped in the same fleecy blanket. Her warm body pressed against mine, her breathing rose and fell in a gentle cadence and wafted a fragrant blend of babyhood and girlhood, princess and drama queen. No, God, no, I need more, much more than this. I’ve not yet heard her sing the whole “ABC song.” I want to hear the “Bridal Chorus” from “Lohengrin” for her. I’m selfish enough to want to hear her hum Brahm’s “Lullaby.”

We read the story and then another. The day passed.

Another day passed. A turning. A moving.

Choices to be made.

Life has become a dance.

Sometimes, I feel like I am being pulled from one dance partner to another, never sure where I am going next. Sometimes, it’s a slow dance, waiting, just being held close by those who love me, savouring, being, knowing, resting. Sometimes, it is simply swaying in one spot and breathing.

I often wonder why me? and answer my own question with why not me? I’ve been busy for so long, doing too much, perhaps, and maybe this is God’s way of saying it’s time to take a rest. Even music is defined by the inclusion of pauses and silences amidst the crescendos, not just sounds imposed on the air waves.

Would that the offensive cells in my body succumb to the prayer that they align with God’s design for harmony, that every dissonant measure be dissolved. It has become my prayer, my plea for a miracle, my song for survival.

The sun rises each morning, and I am triumphant that this is a new day, a new world. My Father’s world.

This is my Father’s world, and to my listening ears
All nature sings, and round me rings the music of the spheres...
*

The sun rises and sets, and round about it the planets move, their massiveness providing no hindrance as they glide in a celestial symphony, a planetary dance of monumental proportions. What sound is heard as they sweep majestically through space?

Surely our Father who sets the planets to spin and shine will remember me and my malforming cells and the disharmony they have wrought in my life. His voice calls all of creation into being, from the smallest of insignificant cells to the most magnificent of heavenly bodies. At His command, the thunder roars and the waters flow, the forests flourish and fields of grain yield bountiful harvests. The earth is His music.

I wait. I hope. I believe. I dance.

“Mommy, can we sing?”

“Yes, baby, we can.”

***

* “This is My Father’s World” Words: Maltbie B. Babcock, 1901. Music: Traditional English Melody.


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This article has been read 1053 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Mo 03/15/07
This is so deep and almost poetic? So nicely done. If it's non-fiction, I hope all goes WELL in your future!
Marilee Alvey03/15/07
How poignant. Having spent the day with my 3 year old grandchild, holding her in my arms, I can really appreciate this. I thank God for each of my grandchildren I've seen. I am grateful. However, somehow I know that God works things out, no matter how discordant they may seem here. At the time, you can't imagine God raising your family without you, yet I've seen, time after time, where time passes, children are raised.....and, what I haven't seen yet, the glorious reunion. Nothing is ever wasted by our loving God. Thank you for this talented story.
Linda Watson Owen03/16/07
Exquisite and poettc indeed. Every word is perfectly woven in this superb piece. You have touched your readers' hearts by using the skills of a true master writer. I especially like the imagery of comparing the cells in our bodies to the the heavenly bodies. God is in control in the smallest and largest ways. Amen.
Jacquelyn Horne03/17/07
Very well written. Encouraging to those who have walked the same pathway. You could feel the pain of her trying to deal with the disease and maintain normalcy at the same time.
Sharlyn Guthrie03/17/07
Eloquent is the word that come to mind. Your writing just flows like music.
Jan Ackerson 03/19/07
Even music is defined by the inclusion of pauses and silences amidst the crescendos...This was my favorite line, so beautiful and true. Your writing never fails to stun me, it's as if you open a vein and bleed on the paper. I'm speechless.
Verna Cole Mitchell 03/19/07
What a beautiful expression of hope in a situation where there seems to be no hope. You did a great job of weaving music through the narrative. This is a very touching piece.
Pat Guy 03/19/07
Ann - what can one say? This is exquisite to the point of perfection. Beautiful ...
Catrina Bradley 03/19/07
Masterful (and that doesn't do your entry justice.)
Sandra Petersen 03/19/07
This was well-worded. Almost every thought this woman had reflected my own thoughts a few years back when tests revealed abnormal cells and an enlarged ovary. I remember,though, becoming rather fatalistic about it: "I'm ready for Jesus to take me home." My family didn't agree.

You didn't say conclusively whether your main character was dying from the cancer or whether the doctors were trying treatments to rid her of the cancer. That didn't detract from the story; instead, it made her future seem uncertain, like the words she used to describe the sudden disequilibrium in her life.

This was tender, and like I said, you expressed very well the thoughts of someone in this situation.
Joanney Uthe03/19/07
I really enjoyed the progression your MC made in her thinking. Great job.
Sheri Gordon03/19/07
Oh my goodness. This is beautiful. Music is so powerful is so many areas of our lives. I love the way this story progressed -- grabbed my heartstrings and didn't let go.
Joanne Sher 03/20/07
Oh my! Just perfect in every way. Ann, I am so glad that you allow God's pen to use you in this way. Your pieces always make my heart stop, and this is no exception. Astoundingly amazing.
Sherrie Jackson03/20/07
"Even music is defined by the inclusion of pauses and silences..." Yes! This is SO important in music, and it is also a stunning reminder of the reason why God can seem silent in our lives sometimes.

This reminded me of a piece from last year, "Abandoned Seeds." Your writing is beautiful, entrancing. Do NOT stop. :-)