voices, U-turns and Amazing Grace

“You might not want to eat that fourteenth Oreo.”
“You should stop at that colleague’s office today.”
“You should sign up for that volunteer event at church.”

We all have “voices” inside our heads.  Think you don’t?  Pretty sure you’re arguing with yourself about it right now.  To shore up the uncomfortable nature of these cues, we’ve depicted them in comics as an angel and a cartoon devil at our shoulders, or dismissed them as phooey.  Lately, one of these said voices has been not so much hungry for Oreos as it has been hungry for my time.

I was driving through town with perfectly practical/logical plans to go grocery shopping, when I got the sense that I should stop and visit my grandmother in the Good Samaritan Center.  Ugh.  I’ll be frank. . . I hate that place.  I’ve been creeped out ever since I was a little kid singing Christmas carols there.  “Silent Night, holy night,” we sang as a woman in the crowd rocked back and forth, while another slow-moving elderly man came up to actually touch the hair of one of my fellow choir members.  In my fast-paced, recess-filled world I had no frame for this experience.  Plus, no one really created a space to process the experience, so I made the logical kid choice to just avoid these places.

I know that was a long time ago, but the residual taste in my mouth is still there.  So, when I got a sense that I should willingly go for a visit, I was channeling my inner Moses (that is prior to actually doing any work for God).

No was clearly the answer I was giving to this voice, and I justified it while driving along my happy way.  So the U-turn I took in my car was one filled with angst.  I arrived at the center during hymn sing-along time, so I quietly slipped my chair in between the wheelchairs to see a quiet smile from my grandma.  As it came time for requests, she leaned in with her weather-worn voice and noted, “I hope it’s not #88.  We sing that one EVERY DAY.  Amazing Grace. . . I’m sick of it.”

As we sang song after song, my wall of defense crumbled as I found myself quickly wiping away tears–not wanting to look out of sorts in this group where I already stuck out.  As we sang, “Count your blessings, name them one by one.  Count your blessings, see what God has done,” the tears sprang as I heard these voices coming from ones with physical and emotional ailments that I couldn’t begin to understand.  The problems of my fast-paced, grocery shopping emergency life dimmed in comparison.

So, when we got to dreaded #88, I smiled realizing the Amazing Grace God had shown me in that small little U-turn that ultimately turned a corner in my heart.

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