Choir people,

I am just going to address what wasn’t said today, but what I am sure most felt. Today’s first rehearsal was tough. The last time I saw Charles was when he was singing in the back row of the concert on December 13, 2015. No one would have guessed that about six weeks later, he would not be here on earth with us.

At his funeral, choir members were invited to sing David Frazier’s “I Need You to Survive,” which has been a choir warm-up song for as long as we have had David Coleman as choir director. I went up on stage and cried and cried, mouthing words, unsure what the words were exactly meaning to me at that moment. “I need you, you need me. We’re all a part of God’s body. Stand with me, agree with me. We’re all a part of God’s body. It is His will that every need be supplied. You are important to me, I need you to survive. I pray for you, you pray for me. I love you, I need you to survive. I won’t harm you with words from my mouth. I love you, I need you to survive.” While I am not sure who I was singing to or what I was singing about, I was singing with a group of people that I strongly associated with Charles, which was heartbreaking and heartwarming all at the same time. Allie and I held hands.

Fast-forward to today. At church service this morning, while singing the worship songs, two thoughts came to mind. First, that if Charles was here, he would soon be at choir rehearsal. But he’s not, and his absence made me start to cry. Immediately the next thought came to mind: He is singing in a heavenly choir whenever he wants! In the direct presence of our Lord! He doesn’t have to wait for September to sing in a choir like the rest of us. He has been already doing it the last 8 months. And this image made me cry even more. This world is not the end and the next life is so beautiful. I often lose sight of this. But I am thankful for the small reminders that there is so much to be desired once we leave this world and come before the presence of God.

At choir rehearsal, it was a bit strange and odd-feeling. The last time I was at HR Arlington was for Charles’ funeral. And when we eventually sang “I Need You to Survive” to warm-up, the emotion just came out. I am sure for many of us, the last time we sang that song was at his funeral, with many of the same people, in the same room. I held hands with Allie again. I could hear sniffles coming from the choir. This song will long be associated with choir, Charles, and his funeral. And I am certain that every week we sing this song, it will be difficult. I am holding onto these lyrics for this season, “We’re all a part of God’s body. It is His will that every need be supplied. You are important to me, I need you to survive.” Choir, we are a part of God’s body. We will need each other to survive through this season that brings back so many memories.

I love you,