Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Singing (10/31/05)
TITLE: Heart Song
By Beth Muehlhausen
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She was born with a song in her heart – a song of hope, a song of desire. It bubbled from her infant lips with every cry: “I am alive! Who am I; am I yours? Hold me! Shelter me, know me, guide me! Believe in me! I am a miracle – your miracle.”
Her song fell on deaf ears, and was misinterpreted as annoyance. While colic demanded consolation from a brigade of nannies, her song of longing went unanswered.
She was too often disappointed and frightened. Her father yelled and cursed daily, while her mother paced and sighed, wringing her hands. Her older sisters were distant and preoccupied. The song remained unanswered and lay dormant in her heart, while a wall of protection guarded it from outside influence. After all, wasn’t it better to hide behind the wall, without expectations? The song shrank into the shadows, afraid of more misunderstanding. There was no point in wanting to find love if there was no such thing as hope.
A few years passed, and panic attacks threatened to overtake her. Crippling waves of terror answered her heart song with bleak hopelessness. At the tender age of eight she cringed from each unexpected and unannounced onslaught. It was as if a monstrous beast pursued her from within…growing closer and closer and closer until she knew it would overtake her heart. “You are not loveable…there is something wrong with you…too bad you are always alone….and now I will consume you.” She often sat in her third grade seat at school, frozen like a stone but buzzing with adrenaline, all the while denying the raging inner tormentor any form of external expression. The beast repeatedly preyed upon her greatest fears: isolation and rejection.
Fortunately, she learned to recognize messengers of peace. A partial answer to her heart song - “You…you are precious…you can trust me” - was spoken in the energetic rustling of leaves in the oak tree, the cries of red-winged blackbirds in the marsh, the “ga-rumph-ma-rumph” of bullfrogs after dark, the geese honking in a giant V overhead. A message of connection appeared in the driving snowflakes silently pelting her face, the autumn wind tossing her hair, the stars peeking into her bedroom window, the early morning mist hanging everywhere like a thick gray blanket. In these moments she knew, deep down, that she shared something in common with nature. If this were true, then certainly she belonged to something more than despair.
Nature’s responses to her song reminded her that there was more to life than pain and fear – there was belonging. And if there was belonging, perhaps there was a Lover of her soul. And if there were such a Lover, perhaps He would pursue her. And if He would pursue her, perhaps He would answer her song.
One night soon after her tenth birthday, she lay in bed, overwhelmed by memories of a Bible camp she attended with a friend. The heart song of her birth seemed to resurface: “I am alive! Who am I; am I yours? Hold me! Shelter me, know me, guide me! Believe in me! I am a miracle – your miracle.”
“Lord, could it be time for me to be born again? Can I give you my heart – right now, right here?”
A sliver of a moon hung in the sky outside her window and an owl suddenly hooted from the woods. Otherwise, all was still. She strained to listen for an answer…just in case.
Could it be? Was there singing – quiet singing? A melodic voice began to hum; it became louder and louder while she held her breath, waiting and wondering. Surely it was not the beast – no, this time she heard singing, not accusation! Her pulse raced with anticipation. Gradually the gentle voice became louder and louder, until it enveloped her. It was true! The singing came from her heart – she heard it from the inside-out!
The Lover of her soul was singing! His melody answered her heart song! “You are fully alive now, and you are mine – all mine! I embrace you, child! I will protect you, teach you, and believe in you. I will be your closest friend. You are a miracle – my miracle. I love you!”
She lifted her arms into the blackness of night and sang her favorite camp song back to Him:
“Open the eyes of my heart, Lord,
Open the eyes of my heart;
I want to see You, I want to see You.”
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