Jillian was a soprano at Boston College during my first years back working there, and I think I got to know her gorgeous voice before I got to know her. She’s gifted in many ways and also has a beautiful baby who plays a role in her contribution to the How Can I Keep from Singing series.
I had a very hard time starting this post. I’ve been filled with doubt recently. I am filled with trepidation as this school year closes and I know that I still don’t have a job for next school year. My husband, Chris, and I are stressed to the max. Socking as much money away into savings since my future paychecks are a big unknown. Trying to make ends meet on just Chris’ income while meeting all of our financial obligations each week has been causing a major rift between us and we were starting to lose sight of what this was all for.
Then, our precious girl got sick. Not seriously sick, really just bad seasonal allergies. Chris and I get them every spring too. But, our 13 month old didn’t really understand and was miserable. She was super congested, nose running, coughing and just generally miserable. We did everything we could think of to make her comfortable, but she just couldn’t sleep between the stuffiness and the coughing. While I rocked and tried to soothe her tiny body to sleep, Chris sang every song he could think of. He sang children’s songs, pop songs, lullaby versions of oldies. Nothing was helping our Bitsy calm down. All three of us were growing more frustrated and anxious as time ticked by and it became later in the night.
Then I remembered the song that Chris and I sing to each other when we are stressed and sad and scared. And I began to sing…
Will you let me be your servant
Let me be as Christ to you
Pray that I might have the grace
To let me be your servant too
Chris joined in and we sang all 5 verses together. We know all of the lyrics and harmonies without even glancing at the music.
We are pilgrims on the journey
We are brothers on the road
We are here to help each other
Walk the mile and bear the load
I will hold the Christ light for you
In the night time of your fear
I will hold my hand out to you
Speak the the peace you long to hear.
I will weep when you are weeping
When you laugh, I’ll laugh with you
I will share your joy and sorrow
Till we’ve seen this journey through.
When we sing to God in heaven
We shall find such harmony
Born to all we’ve known together
Of Christ’s love and agony
Singing this song together reminds me of our identity as a couple and of why we do all of the things we do. Chris and I have been singing hymns together since we first started dating, The Servant Song has always been a favorite. The physical act of singing together, careful, measured breathing and listening to each other for harmonies forces us to relax and pay attention to each other in a different way. It’s not just about who is going to change the next diaper or clean up toys, our relationship and our lives are about something much bigger than that. Sometimes, it is too hard to pray out loud together. When we are both doubting choices we’ve made or things we’ve done, we pray together by singing.
The Servant Song was the communion hymn at our wedding. I was so nervous about being on the altar and having everyone look at me. We were facing out, towards 150 of our closest friends and families. I was very stressed, but as soon as The Servant Song began to play Chris and I started to sing. It felt as if we were the only 2 in the room.
The lyrics help us remember that our lives together are a journey. Things rarely go as we hope or expect they will, but as long as we are together, and are relying on our faith, we are able to get through.
After singing through all of the verses, Bitsy was finally able to relax enough to fall asleep. And, Chris and I were able to spend a relaxing evening together.
Absolutely beautiful. Thank you for sharing your hopeful story. I hope things start looking brighter for you and your family.
Thanks for sharing this, Margaret.
Margaret Felice says
Isn’t she marvelous? Glad you enjoyed it, and looking forward to sharing yours as well!
Fran Rossi Szpylczyn says
This post is so beautiful. Your gifts are many Jillian, I get to say that because I know you firsthand. My prayers for you and the job market. Love to you three!