Sunday, May 31, 2009

How Firm a Foundation, Hymn #85

I have always loved the 25th Section of the Doctrine and Covenants. I love all that rich, specific counsel, and I love knowing that it was given to a woman. I like to think it was also counsel given to me. I particularly love verse 12, where it says that "the song of the righteous is a prayer". I believe that with all my heart, and have experienced many such prayers through music.

But today I had an experience where the song was the answer.
Let me backtrack a little.

This weekend I have struggled with some very raw emotion. I have felt sad, angry, discouraged, disheartened, unloved, and generally uncomfortable in my own skin. This morning as I tried to dissect some of these emotions, I went to my great Thinking Place -- the shower. And while I stood there under the water I began drafting an "I feel" statement, trying to put some of those emotions into words. The word I came up with that most nearly described what I was feeling was dismayed. "I feel extremely dismayed..." which is odd, because I don't often use that word. I also felt like the rug had been yanked right out from under me and I had nowhere to stand.

I had to kind of drag myself through my morning rituals this morning, in between moments of sobbing and whimpering. Then I dragged myself through church, wiping away occasional inexplicable tears that surfaced. Then I sat down on a chair in primary and just did my best to hold it all together.

Hailey Smith, our chorister, did a hilarious improv routine as Professor Smith, cousin to Sister Smith, a professor of primary music who was there visiting from England to observe our children. It was a treat, and it felt good to laugh for a minute. The children sang out beautifully. And when they sang How Firm a Foundation I joined in heartily. On the second verse, the words touched me so deeply I could no longer sing and just wiped away the tears:
Fear not, I am with thee; oh, be not dismayed,
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid.
I'll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
Upheld by my righteous omnipotent hand.
I felt at that moment as though God himself was speaking directly to me through those lyrics.
And I sat up a little straighter and took the message to heart. Not only do we speak to God through our singing, but He speaks to us.

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