This video was hard to watch. It’s 10 minutes long, but it’s worth every second.
For me, it reminded me of my father. He , like the woman in the video suffered a series of strokes that left him paralyzed and with limited speech ability. He had been a “guest” of the state when he was faced with these severe medical challenges. The state, in an attempt at benevolence, sent him home to die in peace. To their surprise and mine, he lived a few years after he left their care. My father pretty much refused all attempts at rehabilitation, and so his speech suffered. He never lost the ability to swear at us, though. And much like the lady in the video, he never stopped singing.
He liked Curtis Mayfield and Eddie McCann. He could sing every single word of Superfly without missing a beat, but he couldn’t say his mother’s maiden name. He once called me an m’fer (he said the whole word) for quizzing him on his personal information in preparation for a visit to the bank.
Anyway, on one of those trips downtown on official business, I found myself praying and singing hyms. I do that when I get nervous or upset. To my surprise, my daddy sang along with me. I was confused at first, since he couldn’t read me the numbers on his Social Security card. But I kept singing, and so did he.
I’m pretty sure he hadn’t been to church in ages. I don’t know how far back he had to reach to find those lyrics, but I will never forget the kinship of that moment. I was 30 years his junior, but the moment and the music brought us to the same place.
I’m a firm believer that whatever’s in you will come out of you. Both his mother and mine had filled us with Sunday School lessons, and hymns common to the National Baptist convention. Both of us had learned that music was a form of communication. And despite the fact that neither of us were singers, we both found some sort of peace in the middle of the music.
And when we were pressed, what was in us, came out of us. It is the case with the olive and the grape. So it is the case with man. Luke 6:45 says “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”
This week has been trying for me, as I feel as if I am failing on every front. But even in the midst of my mess, I find myself saying how appreciative I am, every chance I get. The seed of gratefulness was planted in me.
If and when pressed on every side, it is what comes out of me. (That’s not to say, that a few other words might not slip out, though. I am my father’s daughter, after all. )
Seriously, take a few minutes to watch this. Fast forward to the last 5 minutes if that’s all you have.