Monday, October 18, 2010

When we've been there ten thousand years...

...bright shining as the sun
we've no less days
to sing God's praise
than when we'd first begun
-Amazing Grace

There are certain moments in life that freeze into your mind. Those that capture a feeling that will last forever. I had one of those moments yesterday, and it was so beautiful to me that I want to capture it in words, too.

Yesterday afternoon was our church's annual fall festival. It's not a fancy event. We gather at Optimist Farm, take a hayride (or four) around the field and through the woods, bob for apples, eat some hot dogs. The big boys usually play football, and the kids play cornhole or ladder golf. But mostly we wander around and visit with friends, enjoying the weather and watching young'uns play. It's fall at its best for me.

But after dinner is when it really gets good. There's a bonfire (small and controlled in a fire pit, thank you!) and marshmallow roasting. Well, since it's mostly kids, there's more marshmallow igniting than marshmallow roasting, but they seem to enjoy them blackened. Then the singin' starts.

We have some awesomely talented musicians at FBC. Our choir's anthem on Sunday morning absolutely took my breath away. The music is traditional, reverent, beautiful - exactly what I want to hear on a Sunday morning. But the campfire singin' is good ol' fashioned hymns like your grandma sang in her little white clapboard Baptist church in the country. Pow'r in the Blood. I'll Fly Away. Leaning on the Everlasting Arms. Throw in a few requests by the kids - Jesus Loves the Little Children, Deep and Wide (thank you Sweet T - great suggestion!), She'll be Comin' Around the Mountain - and you have quite the sing along.

The accompaniment to this singin' is quite a collection - a couple of guitars, an upright bass, an accordion (seriously!), a few tambourines for the kids who're willing to join in, a washboard. In spite of the fact that I can't carry a tune in a bucket, I enthusiastically sang along because seriously, I just can't resist "I'll Fly Away."

But the mental image I'm tucking into my mind is when we sang Amazing Grace. Derek had Luke snuggled close on his chest in the baby carrier, fast asleep. I'm singing to my little off-key heart's content. We're standing beside friends, surrounded by the church family that helped to carry us through our dark days. And Jay is in the center of it all, grinning and dancing his crazy toddler moves (he definitely got his Daddy's rhythm-or lack thereof). He was absolutely full of life, enjoying himself as totally and completely as he ever has. Beautiful moment, full of amazing grace. I shed a little tear of joy. I am so grateful for the blessings in my life.


Joye said...


I remember the first Sunday we went to church after Ethan came home from the hospital for the first time. The band played "Amazing Grace" and I just sobbed.

Be blessed, Jen, and rest in His amazing grace!

Anonymous said...

I think you and Jay had similar moves...just sayin'. ;)

Beautiful post and a beautiful sight.


Anonymous said...

What a wonderful post! We truly missed everyone this year, especially for the catch-up time together. Our Church is a very special place and we are all incredibly lucky.

Jen Foster said...

@Lisa -- that's TWICE you've insulted me by accusing me of dancing like a two year old! Just because you were a ballerina in your younger days doesn't mean it's cool to make fun of my lack of skills in the dance department. ;-)

Beth said...

The last verse of Amazing Grace is my favorite verse of any hymn ever written anywhere in the world. Mom cross-stitched an (insert appropriate noun here) of this song for me that hangs in my dining room. She improvised on the pattern, changing the bottom border to include a box with the verse "When we've been there 10,000 years...." because she knew the promise and comfort those words provide me. I treasure it.

And there is little required in the dancing department to that tune. Just some swaying back and forth - so easy even a cavem...uh, caucas ....uh...baptist can do it!