Diamond moments

My church this past Sunday celebrated its 70th anniversary. It was a good production, my wife leads our music and it was rather inspired if I say so myself. I witnessed something, though, that really stood out. Many people showed up who were no longer active members, either pastors who had moved on to other churches or the elderly in shut-in situations who were sought out for this event or who had moved off to other towns but made the drive in.

One of these was a man, now well into senility, who once was a wonderful singer. He made a habit, for many years, of visiting shut-ins and nursing homes to sing. Someone whispered in my wife’s ear that he would love to be invited to sing, but wouldn’t put himself forward, so she went to him and asked if he would like to sing, an invitation he gladly accepted.

Now, in our church, as in many churches near military installations, there are two, broad categories of parishioners. There are those like my wife and I, transients, there for 2-3 years at the most. And then there are the “locals”, ex-military who have retired to the area, or just folks for whom that town is home. That unique situation allowed me to see something Sunday I might not have otherwise recognized.

There I sat at the computer, my job is to flip the slides on the overhead and otherwise be my wife’s roadie, and this elderly man got up to sing. His palsy was so bad my wife had to hold the hymnal he was singing from for him. But he sang strongly, with a pure tone. He must once have been a wonder to hear. But the real beauty, for me, was to look at the “locals”. Those who had known him in his prime. Not a dry eye. For them, this was a diamond moment. Diamond moments are those rare, precious moments that stick in our memory, that cause our soul and this world to connect intimately, if briefly. For the locals this one moment was a distillation of all the beauty that this man had provided over a lifetime, a fitting tribute and an unexpected honor.

Life is often short and brutal. It sure as hell isn’t fair. Horror, injustice wait around every corner. But, once in a wonderful while, God offers us a diamond moment. A touchstone that re-ignites our souls. Cherish them. Hoard them like dragon’s gold in your hearts and bring them out from time to time to remind you what this world CAN be.

I wish I could recall all my diamonds. So many have slipped away, or are caught up in images or sensations too difficult to describe. I want to be able to bequeath these diamonds to my children and grandchildren, to give them the history of our family that really matters. Most important, I want to give them the awareness so they can capture their own diamonds, rather than get mired in the muck of the mundane that leads down into despair.

What are your diamonds? What diamonds are you creating for others? Take some time and let God really show you His world and those in it…

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About cptcaveman

An Army Major, my family and I are in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. We enjoy photography, cooking, reading and outdoor sports like hunting, fishing and trapping.
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3 Responses to Diamond moments

  1. Beautiful, my brother. Stunningly, hauntingly beautiful. Another discipline for my to engage: Remembering my diamond moments.

  2. aleph says:

    When Joshua led the people of Israel through the River Jordan, the waters parted and the people were able to cross safely. He told the leaders of the tribes to set twelve great stones as a testimony to God’s faithfulness. ‘In future times’, he said, ‘people will say, ‘What do these stones mean?’ and you will tell them how God brought you all through in safety. ‘

    ‘Hinds Feet on High Places’ by Hannah Hurnard, is the tale of a crippled girl called Much Afraid who begins a journey to the high places because of her love for the Great Shepherd. He believes she can make the journey and she hangs onto his words, incredible as they seem. Occasionally she stops to pick up a stone so she will have a reminder of each stage of her journey and his words to her at that time. Each stone is placed in a little leather bag that she wears close to her heart.

    When the path leads to a dark place where there seems no way forward, she crouches there, and waits. After a while she empties the little bag of stones into her lap. As she looks at them, she realises that they are the memorial stones from all the altars she has built along the way. She asks herself dully, ‘Shall I not throw them away, were they not all worthless promises he gave me?’

    She examines them, one at a time; and, however uncertain she feels about the outcome, she says again and again, ‘No, I cannot bear to part with that one…’ At length, all the stones are returned to her little leather bag, and with them another memory stone, as she cries, ‘Even though he slay me, yet will I trust him.’

    What are the memory stones from your life? What are the things you have held on to from your journey? What are the equivalent of the memory stones for you? It would be important to share your little bag of stones with your soulfriend.

    As I read what you had written I was reminded of this bit above

  3. Pathfinder says:

    Diamonds –

    One – I grew up in a church with an operatic tenor as choirmaster. Every Christmas he would sing O Holy Night a capella. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house, including my Mom. Years later, we would travel out from Chicago to where my Mom lived and spend Christmas eve at the church listening to Earl. Sadly, a new crop of members who did not grow up with him decided he wasn’t what they wanted in a choirmaster – or even a soloist at Christmas, and they used his having a serious cold one year to “retire” him. Sad, but awesome diamonds for a good many years. He is still the standard, and I cannot listen to women singing O Holy Night because of him. Only tenors need apply.

    Two – last Christmas, one of the women who works in my Church office sang. That is putting it mildly, she stole the Christmas show. If we had not already been standing, she would have had a standing ovation. Even the pastor called her out by name, something he never does to the choir or singers. The song she sang was Hallelujah [Light Has Come] by BarlowGirl. Normally a hard rock Christian group, they toned it down and did this song of Mary speaking to and about her baby boy, the Light of the world that had come through her. What put it over the edge was the fact that SueEllen had had a baby boy just a few months before, and the sheer emotion of the moment for her came through and made everything transcendent.

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