Tucked into some trees at the edge of a lake is where I found her. Well, first I found her in the yellow pages. Yes, back when there was an actual paper book and there were no maps, photos of facilities, or reviews to help you make your decision. Nope, my hope was simply that I’d find the “right” place when I really didn’t know What I was looking for.
I can still remember following the instructions for parking and the ramp to the side door. Still smell the warm pine trees, hear the skittering of birds in the trees and tiny critters in the leaves and hear my lone footfalls on the wooden ramp. Still remember my nervousness opening the temperamental door (that needed an extra nudge in the summer and sometimes didn’t close all the way in winter) and finding my way to the waiting room. And sitting on the loveseat, filling out paperwork, getting my first glimpse of Carol.
I would later wonder how someone so small in stature would come to be one of the most powerful humans I know. But at that time, I was comforted by my first impressions. Soft spoken with even softer eyes, I was reasonably certain she was someone I could talk to. You know, just long enough to sort out this anxiety that didn’t make sense.
And over the next few years, she would. Help me sort it, that is. She’d gently walk with me through childhood trauma, help me manage hard parental relationships and start changing generations of unhealthy thoughts and behaviors by teaching me how to parent my own littles and love my husband well. And all the while there was a Song in that room. Most of the time it was a consistent undercurrent, radiating from that small, gentle woman in the rocking chair. But every once in awhile it would peak and reverberate off the walls in a more audible question, or an observation.
Have you ever stopped and prayed when you feel overwhelmed like that?
When I’m thinking about the big questions in life, sometimes I find those answers at church. Have you ever been?
I know when I was a young mom, I really needed relationships with other young moms. It can be isolating spending all your time with young children. Sometimes they’ve got mom groups at the local churches. Have you tried one?
And the Song would tug at my heart and my thoughts until I did go to a church and ask the big questions. And got big answers. And I realized, a carol is a song.
And MY Carol is a Song.
Or rather, possesses and reflects, the Song of Christ. That gentle calm that attracted, comforted, enveloped and walked alongside of me? It was the promised Comforter the whole time. And later, that same Song would be positively fierce in protecting me. Fighting for me. And loving me through some of the darkest, most painful moments of my life. Christ in that tiny woman would make her powerful enough to help lift me bodily out of some of the deepest depths of despair.
I remember reading John 14:16 and believing Jesus when He said that the promised Counselor (or in other translations, Comforter) would be better for me; but sometimes still wondering how it was better for me than if He was still with us bodily and not in Spirit. It was much later when I would realize that it would be through that Counselor, in my counselor, that would testify to the same Spirit within me and bring me comfort that would surpass worldly understanding or expectations. And help me know Jesus in a way I couldn’t have had He not been in me, always.
16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor[a] to be with you forever.17 He is the Spirit of truth. The world is unable to receive him because it doesn’t see him or know him. But you do know him, because he remains with you and will be[b] in you.
And now, the Song is familiar, but no less attractive, no less powerful, and definitely no less comforting. And I still hear it in every conversation with my Carol. The in dwelling Spirit that constantly, sweetly, and faithfully points me to Christ.
20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us
But here’s the crazy thing. I didn’t ask. I didn’t imagine.
I didn’t even KNOW to ask or imagine. I simply dialed a phone number, found in the antiquated yellow pages.
And God still gave me a carol. Wooed me with a Song. And through that Carol, gave me more than I could have asked for or imagined. He gave me a spiritual mother that has often doubled as a physical mother to not only grow and encourage me and my faith, but helped to grow and nurture the faith of my family. He gave me a safe place to learn to trust, so that I could learn to trust my Father. He gave me someone to laugh with, cry with and always point me to Him. He gave me a treasure I will forever thank Him for. Because through my Carol, His Song, He has not only richly and generously blessed me, but He has fostered a legacy of faith in my family. In Hubby and my not so littles.
I can only pray that one day, I might reflect even a fraction of the Christ I’ve seen in her over the years.
That on occasion, those with me might hear an echo of the Song of Carol. For many years to come.
2 Corinthians 2:15-17
15 For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, 16 to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things? 17 For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God's word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ.
You unravel me, with a melody.
You surround me with a song.