Our family has a ministry where we go and sing at a nursing home every Sunday after church. This past Sunday, though, I thought maybe I didn't want to go-I didn't FEEL like going. Dad's allergies were bothering him, so I was hoping he would cancel. But, he didn't, and all the way there I was reviewing all the reasons why I didn't want to go there. Our church had gone skating on Saturday, and as a result I was sore, I had blisters on both my feet, and if that wasn't enough, the weather was hot, and I had a headache...I was grumpy. So, needless to say, it didn't seem like the service was going to go well.
We walked into the room where we hold the services and I sat at the piano and played. Dad and my brother, Paul, went to gather people for the service and handed out the song books. While playing the hymns, I hit many an off note, and kept on playing. Dad had me sing two solo numbers so I got up and sang one song, then my mind went blank-I couldn't think of a single song. Then I felt the Lord tell me to sing, "In the Garden", so I urged everyone to sing it with me. And we sang.
From the very first note, we were off...off-key, off-beat, and out of synch. There was general confusion as we sang, but everyone sang. Their old voices cracked and wavered as they sang, but they sang all three verses with me, without looking at the hymnals. There was a lady there who can hardly talk, when she does, you can't understand her very well, but when she sang, she sort of moaned the words. And it just thrilled my heart to see all these grandmas and grandpas singing their hearts out, and the rest of the service I was on cloud nine for no apparent reason.
It's been a blessing for me to sing at the nursing homes, even though it does get tiring. But the old timers- they don't mind if you mess up when you play the piano, they don't mind if your voice cracks on a note, and they don't even mind if you forget the words, they are just glad that someone takes the time to visit them. As a preacher once said that it is a practice of pure religion, "Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world." (James 1:27, KJV)