There was an article a while back in the morning paper about a singing nurse. A nurse who was also a student of voice has taken to singing favorite songs to patients to cheer them up. The patients who seem to appreciate this the most are the elderly and the terminally ill. They typically request songs made popular by stars such as Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole including the 1930s hits “I’ll Be Seeing You” and “Smile,” but he also apparently gets many appeals for hymns.
It’s a touching connection that shows the power of music as one of God’s greatest gifts to us.
I was most taken, as I read about this, by a comment from one of the patients in her nineties who said, “If he would come in 24 hours a day I think I’d be well and I’d be out of here, but then I wouldn’t see him anymore.”
Is she saying the treatment is worth the disease?
How like this is Paul’s opening remarks in the fifth chapter of second Corinthians about being in a dilemma over living or dying. “Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. For we live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it” (2 Corinthians 5:6-9).
You get the impression that there is something to living in this state that requires faith to believe what we can’t see. We get the Lord either way, but to get Him now, when it requires faith to believe it, is something special. To be terminally ill and hear the music, and not want to leave the hospital … who am I to question that?
There is a sense in which what we have here is worth it. True, eternity is going to be everything we ever wanted fully realized, but there’s something to the music we have here, now, that is worth living in this unrealized reality. The treatment is worth the disease. The voice breaks through the misery. The life we live now is worth the pain, sorrow, sin and dysfunction we live with because of what we have come to know of the savior. Sure there’s more coming, but I have nothing to judge that by. I have what I have now, and for now, this is enough.
One of our readers always signs her notes: ” I wish you enough.” I think I might know something more about what she means now. The singing nurse showed it to me.
“He has a beautiful, soothing voice,” said one of his patients, “and the nice thing about it is when he looks at you, you know he’s singing to you. It just pierces my heart.”