As the title of this post suggests, it’s been another difficult few days for me.
It all started on Thursday with my Mum going into hospital for an exploratory procedure. But I’m pleased to say, all turned out to be fine, with no problems found.
Then on Thursday night I went to my first band practice for a while, at Bellshill Salvation Army. I was quite stressed about going back to the band, not because I thought the folks there wouldn’t welcome me back or be supportive, but simply because I am still struggling emotionally following the death of my Dad and my Aunt Mae earlier this year.
Music has always been a huge part of my life, with music always been played in the house from as early as I can remember. Dad was always composing and arranging music (or “decomposing” music as he used to say!), and sitting at the piano trying out various bits and pieces of his compositions. I remember even when I was very young, I always climbed up onto my Dad’s knee at the piano to “help” him. So much so that when I was 6 I started piano lessons, despite the piano teacher not normally taking pupils until they were at least 7, but as I was extra keen an exception was made.
Then a few years later I was given a trombone by our YP band leader (at Rutherglen Salvation Army), and after being shown how to hold it and blow into and the 7 slide positions, I was off and running with my trombone. Needless to say I had a lot of questions, and Dad was there to help from that day on until his dementia meant he was unable to, as he was a trombone player of well renown in the jazz and big band scene in the west of Scotland.
So taking all that into account, band practices, and trombone playing as such a huge reminder of me of my Dad, as he was always there to help when I was looking to some alternative slide positions for some bit of music, or helping choosing a new mouthpiece etc…
I coped not to badly at the band practice until we went to practice Guardian of My Soul, and the words of the last section of this were read out…
O Jesus I have promised
To serve thee to the end…
These words, although not necessarily favourite words of my Aunt Mae, they were words which reminded me so much of her, as she was a lifelong Salvationist, and even in her final days when her dementia meant she wasn’t the person we knew and loved, she still always talked about the Army and how she’d held various positions for many years – even the nurses and carers at her nursing home talked about how she was always telling them about the Salvation Army!. She truly did serve God, her Saviour, all her days.
So when we started to play that piece of music, my emotions got the better of me and my tears streamed down my face…I was just glad everyone was playing as I really didn’t want anyone to notice how upset I was. Crying in public is one of my worst nightmares, and it was no different that night!
So onto today, Sunday, my first meeting at Bellshill for a while, and again I was stressed, as I knew the band were playing Guardian of My Soul and I knew how that had affected me on Thursday, and there would be even more folk there to witness me getting upset, if it were to happen again…
Yes, the music got to me again, as Guardian of My Soul got my tears flowing again, however this time I just tried to play through it (not sure how successful that decision was though!).
But even before we got to the band piece, my tears had started, as the YP Band played I’m In His Hands, and the words associated with this song, touched me just as they do every time I hear them, but they were the reminder I needed that whatever the future holds, I am in His hands.
Even one of the congregational songs from this morning got me, as it reminded me of the band’s Easter Tour of 2003, as just after we returned from this tour I took unwell, and although I’m much improved now, my health continues to cause me some problems. Before we left for our tour we joined in singing, Lord If Your Presence , and again this morning as we sang these words in the knowledge that for the next 9 months, Bellshill Salvation Army will be without a home of their own, as we will be worshipping in the Bellshill Cultural Centre while our halls are refurbished and a new worship hall built.
Even as we played the final march in our hall, Celebration, I was reminded of Dad again as I remember asking him about one of the parts in this piece when I was playing a different part than I was today.
Many thanks to all who offered words of support to me both on Thursday night at band practice and also this morning either before or after our morning service, I really have appreciated the love and support shown to me (and my family) during what has been a particularly difficult time for us.
In conclusion, I’d just like to share with you the words of the song I mentioned earlier
I’m in his hands, I’m in His hands;
Whate’er the future holds
I’m in His hands.
The days I cannot see
Have all been planned for me;
His way is best, you see;
I’m in His hands