A few months ago, The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage bought a harp and began teaching herself how to play it. She can play the piano, organ, flute, and sometimes me. Now she has graduated to the harp. So I guess she’s preparing for heaven, where she’ll play a heavenly harp.
She was quite quick in learning how to play and I could hear her play hymns in the afternoon. I knew every hymn she played, or most of them, and quietly sang along with her. But not loud enough for her to hear.
I have no idea how to play a harp, and believe me, I will not try. Although I love music, music doesn’t seem to love me.
I could sit on the porch, listen to her play and recognize the hymn she was playing. I must confess there have been a few times when I got the hymn wrong, but nobody else needs to know that.
I’ve always loved hymns because they really encourage my soul to trust the Lord.
The other day something happened as I was sitting out on the porch. When I went out The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage wasn’t up yet, so I took a few moments to meditate and read my Bible.
Then I heard this strange humming sound. I couldn’t quite identify which hymn she was playing. I assumed The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage was at her harp playing that morning hymn. I wanted to sing along quietly, but I did not recognize the hymn.
Listening very intently, I still could not make out the melody she was playing on her harp. I have heard her play dozens of hymns, but I couldn’t recognize the one she was playing now.
Being such a hymn lover as myself, I was getting a little irritated. I have at least a dozen hymnals in my library, and have gone through them meticulously over the years. If there’s anything I know, I know my hymns.
Searching my mind, I could not come up with the name of any hymn I heard being played this morning. It could be that in my old age, I forget things. Am I beginning that slippery slope downward with my memory?
Concentrating as best I could, I was trying to understand the music. It seemed to be the same note over and over all the way through. Certainly, my wife is not starting to play contemporary music, is she?
I couldn’t even understand the note that was being played, and I started feeling a little bit sorry for myself.
The thing that troubled me at the time was, how do I deal with this with my wife. How do I confess to her that I’m going wacky? Well, wackier than I have been.
I would go over in my mind all the hymns I could think of at the time. Not one of them came close to the music I was hearing. Maybe my memory was getting a little creaky, or something else was happening.
A thought then danced in my mind at the time. Maybe The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage is doing this to try to play me. Perhaps she knows I listen to her playing the harp and was seeing how she could mess with me. I wouldn’t put anything past her along that line.
As I contemplated on this, I saw The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage at the glass door looking out with a cup of coffee.
I was still hearing the harp being played. What in the world is going on? Have I lost my mind? How can I hear the harp being played when she is standing right in front of me?
She opened the door and asked me how my morning was going. I looked at her and said, “How can you be standing here and playing your harp simultaneously?”
Looking at me quizzically, she said, “What are you talking about?”
For a moment, I thought maybe she had recorded some harp music just to fool me.
“You know exactly what I mean,” I said. “I hear you playing the harp, but you’re standing right here in front of me. How do you explain that?”
Staring at me for a moment, she broke out in hysterical laughter. “You silly boy. I’m not playing the harp. What you are hearing are the hummingbirds behind you.”
Then she laughed a lot more.
I cautiously looked behind me and there at the hummingbird feeder were three hummingbirds doing their humming thing. It sounded like music to me.
It finally came together for me. Being in such a complex situation is most embarrassing, and I didn’t quite know how to escape it.
“Maybe,” I said, looking at her, “you could teach these hummingbirds the words of the song so they wouldn’t have to hum all the time.”
“Or, maybe,” she countered, “you could learn the difference between a harp and a hummingbird.”
I threw a sarcastic smile at her because I had nothing else to say, which was not the first time this happened.
Wallowing in my grief, I happen to think of what King Solomon wrote. Proverbs 20:12, “The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the Lord hath made even both of them.”
According to God’s word, the ear and the eye work together. If I only rely upon my ear, I probably am not hearing the right thing.
Dr. James L. Snyder, is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship, 1471 Pine Road, Ocala, FL 34472. He lives with his wife in Silver Springs Shores. James is an award winning author whose books are available at https://amzn.to/2SMOjwO.