Still Singing

“My life flows on in endless song
Above earth’s lamentations
I catch the sweet though far-off hymn
That hails a new creation.
No storm can shake my inmost calm
While to that rock I’m clinging
Since Love is Lord of heaven and earth
How can I keep from singing?”
~Robert Wadsworth Lowry
Last week Rhema had minor surgery.

We did an RPM lesson about going to the hospital the night before, but I had no idea how it was going to go. In my mind I rehearsed different strategies for all of the scenarios and struggles we might face.

The day of surgery we made it through the hospital doors at 5:45 AM and up to the 3rd floor with no major problems. We breathed a huge sigh of relief, and Rhema stood quietly beside me as we checked in. She was surprisingly calm and waited very well. The woman at the desk stood to escort us into a pediatric waiting area.

That’s when Rhema did what I think everyone in the pre-op area felt like doing: she took off running.

If I hadn’t been concerned about catching her I would have been beaming with pride at her track star speed. I ran after her, leaving the bewildered woman behind. She stopped in a hallway and covered her face. I told her we needed to go back, that we had to stay at the hospital for a while. She wasn’t budging. I could not physically move her back to the waiting room, and I could not leave her alone to go get help. Anxiety began swirling in my stomach. We were stuck.

Then I saw it.

A wheelchair.

As if placed by divine intervention, there was an abandoned wheelchair just a few skips away from us.

“Rhema, want to ride in the wheelchair?”

As if to say “Of course”, she uncovered her face, walked over and sat in the wheelchair.

I wheeled her back to the waiting area, and she contentedly rocked forward and back in the chair all the way.

The next challenge was her coat. Her coat has a big hood that she always pulls over her head as if to shield herself from the sensory onslaughts of the world. It’s like a security blanket for her, zipped up to her nose.

She had to take it off for her medical procedure, and I expected a battle. I worried over it for quite some time, debating whether I should even put her coat on at all that morning.

After the nurse had done everything she could do with Rhema’s coat on, I gently told her I was going to help her take it off. She resisted for a moment and then let me unzip her coat and slide it off. I was amazed. I quickly put her hospital gown on. She reached for her coat and tried to put it on over her gown. We had a little tug of war, but she finally let me put her coat away. Wow.

Thanks for prayers for peace, friends!

“Fret not thyself…” (Ps. 37:1) Sometimes I feel like there’s sooo much to worry about when it comes to managing situations (current and future!) with my girl. Often I pray, “Lord, I have no idea what we’re going to do about…” And then an unexpected, amazing successful moment comes and wraps me up in a comforting serenade. And the thing I thought would be huge and hard just isn’t.

I’m so thankful for that.


We had to wait 2 hours before going into the OR. It was hard to wait, and she was not interested in coloring or playing on her iPad. Nurses, doctors and a Childlife specialist came to talk with us. Rhema sat in her wheelchair and sang her sweet wordless song all the while.

Her language, her life is a song. Like a long musical, she intones her heart-thoughts; she sings every emotion. It seems to be a melody for her, for us, for the morning and night, for paper and rain and air and macaroni and blades of grass; she hums to the world.

When we went into the OR, I held her in my lap as the anesthesia team put a mask on her face. My girl put up a good fight. Even after the mask was placed and she began to fall asleep, her soft, soprano hums filled the room.

“That’s amazing,” one of the nurses said, smiling and shaking her head.

“She’s still singing.”


I recorded Rhema singing in the car a couple years ago. You may need to turn up the volume to hear it.

5 thoughts on “Still Singing

  1. Her beautiful voice brought tears to my eyes. I just caught up on your last three posts and my heart is always tugged as I read your beautiful words. Keep writing my friend. xo

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