Notes from Jan

A Community of Somehow Singers

January 19, 2016

One year ago on January 17th, we gathered in the chapel at Gordon College to celebrate Jud’s life. Unlike today, the weather was good.  Chilly, but good.     Many  of you came to remember Jud.  Thank you. It helped to huddle with friends and family at a place I love.

When it’s all over and done, what’s left?  Much. I spent part of today sitting in a comfortable chair, remembering and being grateful, while watching the snow frost the marsh and cover the deck.

Death, like a sneering grinch, seeks to snatch life from those left behind, a little like the Grinch tried to steal Christmas in the book by Dr. Seuss.   I love that story. Eventually, it’s not about the stolen stuff.  It’s about growing the heart of a Grinch and it grows, not through hand wringing but a hand holding  community of singers.   The  Whos down in Whoville did their merry best and sang without “any presents at all.”  They sang for nothing and that had a wonderful effect on the Grinch,”Well, in Whoville they say-that the Grinch’s small heart grew three sizes that day.”

Maybe, that’s how some view death and funerals. All the song sucked out of life, leaving only the hollow, hopeless sound of the Enemy whispering, “Death won.”  Death grabbed the goods and ran,  and worst of all, stole the song.   All that remains are the remains of someone no longer with us.

Today, I remember not the sting or stench of death but the songs. Songs we sang together, songs others played or sang…  a Net full of singers.  As I reflect, deep inside me The Song lives, in part, because Jud kept singing from the dark diagnosis until his death.  Psalm  63 that comforted him says in verse 6,”Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings.”  And he did.

So how can I do less? While I prefer a duet with Jud, I still sing. Not because I’m so good or brave, I’m neither, but simply because I must.  Do or die.  This one small dash that we have isn’t much but it’s all we’ve got.  I choose to sing along the way, to listen and learn from the songs of others.  And there are times, through these posts and your comments on and off line, that it seems like we’re holding hands and singing together, like those Whos down in Whoville,  a God blessed and loved community of Somehow Singers. 

Who knows who’s listening and may decide to join us on the journey, just for the cost of our song.  So sing on, dear Net.  We’re one day closer to joining a chorus too numerous to count; a choir of angels, saints, family and friends who’ve gone before, singing to the Source of all our songs along the way.

“In a loud voice they sang,’Worthy is the Lamb…’ “(Revelation 5:12)

And so we sing somehow, until…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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8 Comments

  • Reply Sharon Eaton January 19, 2016 at 1:46 am

    Dearest Jan, I love to listen & learn from the songs you sing wonderfully often and today with this “song” I am remembering you & Jud & all that you both have modeled for me of Christ’s love. And I remember the beautiful service 1 year ago in the Jud & Jan Carlberg Chapel celebrating Jud’s amazing life!!
    I remember you today too, sitting alone, watching the wintery vista, & choosing to sing.
    I am so thankful to continue to sing!!
    Looking forward to seeing you soon!

  • Reply susan mcmullen January 19, 2016 at 1:47 am

    Funny, Jan. I just re read Mary Oliver’s poem “I Worried.” It’s last sentence is “And I took my old body and went out into the morning and sang.”
    Jud’s memorial service was a grand sendoff and I was so glad to be there. Peace and love…

  • Reply Barry Loy January 19, 2016 at 2:35 am

    Thank you, Jan. I appreciate your wisdom and vulnerability.

    Glad you got to see Donna.

  • Reply Becky Manseau Barnett January 19, 2016 at 2:27 pm

    Singing with you today, despite myself! Thank you for this emboldening reminder.

  • Reply Wendy Lane January 19, 2016 at 4:55 pm

    It was such an amazing memorial service. I was blessed out of my socks! So thankful for all who took part and shared with the rest of us – to make such a memorable experience – remembering a most remarkable, wonderful man.
    Thank you for this beautiful post. Truly music is a most precious gift from God.

    P.S. Did you know Becky Barnett is “related” to us?! Her father in law is Steve’s cousin. Great family!!!

  • Reply Raquel January 19, 2016 at 8:10 pm

    Dearest MamaJan,

    A year has passed indeed and still the memories are so vivid… I wonder what could have happened this year in Heaven? What has Dr. C done there? It is my comfort that one day we shall all SING together, with Dr. C, with my grandma…with those who have left us and whom we have loved so much. What a beautiful example of faith and courage we see in Dr. Carlberg. He kept his eyes fixed in Jesus till the end.

    Thank you so much for keeping on singing! Your song spreads hope. We love you and we keep you very close to our hearts!
    Singing together with you,
    Raquel

    “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
    Psalm 23:4

  • Reply Margaret A. Hunt January 19, 2016 at 10:28 pm

    Jan,
    Everything you write encourages me and makes me think.
    After Joe passed seven years ago in March, I would sit by the west facing window and as I watched the beautiful sunsets, I would feel he was sending me a message that all was well. It brought me comfort and peace. Does the ocean bring you that same sense?
    Love, Margaret

  • Reply Tanya (Hosken) Graham January 20, 2016 at 11:57 pm

    You remind me of the opening words of my grandmother’s funeral card: “Even at the grave, we make our song!” Greetings and love to you from one of Chad’s Gordon freinds.

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