One of the things I really missed this November was making Annie a birthday gift. When it came to gifts, Annie and I spoke a very different love language but we learned to understand one another’s perfectly. Annie loved time and experiences; I however, would settle for anything with a USB port.
This will explain why I am really enjoying one particular long-term project I have recently set myself – sifting through piles of CDs, USB sticks, memory cards, mobile phones and hard drive folders, locating and cataloguing any photos or videos or audio recordings taken from my past thirteen and a half year history with Annie. Painstakingly, painfully but always joyfully, I sit on the couch at night with my laptop, working through one image, one clip at a time; it’s the ideal thing to be doing during these winter nights while the wood burning stove cinders another log. Of course, a free evening these days is as rare as it is luxurious. This is going to be a very long-term project and I suspect the thrill of the chase will be greater than the satisfaction of finishing.
Just by accident this morning, as I ported a few documents between the aforementioned USB gadgets, I stumbled across a video clip I had forgotten about. It was dated January 23rd, 2013 which would date it to just a few weeks after my Annie had a Pleurodesis procedure to aspirate the cavity between her lungs. It’s amazing how a date and an image can oil the door hinges of the memory vaults. So much came flooding back as I recalled that time. I remember how grateful to God she was for the temporary release from breathlessness and discomfort around her lung as a result of the procedure.
Was her joy rooted in relief from pain or the release to praise God in song once more?
In the latter months of her life, there were two commodities my Annie just couldn’t get enough of: air and ink; and she had a God-given knack for being able to convert both into the currency of praise – expending and investing them entirely on and in heaven’s King Jesus. There was – and never would be – enough air and ink for Annie to pour out in praise but there was never a better use of either substance as far as she was concerned. I recall how she wasted no time offering her newfound breath in adoration, praise and song to her God and King. You couldn’t imagine how much she missed being able to sing until you heard her sing in that January respite. To see and hear the joy that Annie received while singing her Lord’s praises always reminded me of the words of the hymn that was sung by our dear relatives – the Goldschmidt family – at our wedding ceremony.
I’ll love Thee in life, I will love Thee in death,
And praise Thee as long as Thou lendest me breath;
And say when the death dew lies cold on my brow,
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.
The scratchy recording below of our version of the Laura Story song, Blessing – which was played during Annie’s thanksgiving service – is far from perfect which is probably why I didn’t share this clip at the time. Apart from the fact that the camera was making a grand job of filming shoulders and couch, I also made Annie giggle during the recording. My powers of recital are often compensated for with a special substitution technique based on what I think the missing word sounds like. I’ve airbrushed this from the recording below; that will simply remain a private and funny moment between my Annie and I!
However, this far from perfect performance still brings me unending joy, peace and assurance.
In His Arms,