Sunday, November 09, 2008

Music and BYU students

My fourth child was born the day after election day, Wednesday November 5. He is currently in the NICU, being treated for severe jaundice and other blood-related problems. That's the bad news; the good news is that his levels are going down, he's responding well to treatment, he's not in any pain, and although we don't get to take him home for several more days, once he is released we don't have to worry about these problems again--it's a one time thing.

Still, it's been a bit of a bummer. With number three (my son with spina bifida), I was completely geared up to spend tons of time at the hospital, and emotionally (more) ready to do so. With this baby, it has been a surprise, which is always a little harder for me to deal with. My three kids at home aren't happy with my absence, especially the youngest--at almost 2, with a giant cast on his left leg because of recent surgery related to his spina bifida, he has been a bear with Grandma, and sometimes even with Daddy. Add to that the general exhaustion and hormonal shifts that follow childbirth, it's not a wonder that I am a little shaky and sad, prone to tears and frustration.

So what does this have to do with my post's title, "Music and BYU Students"? Simply this. It's Sunday night, I'm in the lobby of the main hospital in Utah Valley, which is very near BYU campus. I'm waiting until it's time to feed my little son again, and the lobby is quiet and peaceful. Various people walk by, most still dressed in their Sunday best, going to visit friends, family, or ward members. When a group of college-age people stop at the Information desk, I pay little attention to them until they begin singing.

It is one of my favorite hymns, "I Need Thee Every Hour", but oddly my first reaction is irritation at the intrusion into the silence. But then I feel my eyes begin to sting, and I look closer at the group. They are not singing loudly, nor are they facing out into the lobby--they are mostly singing for the elderly volunteer manning the front desk. They are not the most accomplished singers I have ever heard, but they are on-key and have some harmony. As I continue to listen, the words sink into my heart, and I have to blink rapidly to stop from crying.
I need thee every hour
Stay thou nearby
Temptations lose their power
When thou are nigh
I need thee!
O I need thee
Every hour I need thee
O bless me now, my Savior,
I come unto thee
When I was in college, I didn't usually participate in the hospital or nursing home singing visits. My general feeling was that a bunch of young, healthy kids barging into the hospital for an hour was an intrusion, generally unwelcome. And (like most activities in college) impressing the opposite sex was a large part of the draw, and I felt weird doing "service" with that end in mind.

But I may have to change my opinion now. For a few moments, unexpectedly, on a day that most decidedly does not feel like Sunday, I was privileged to feel the Spirit. I could hear the love those students have for singing, for the Savior, for others. I was reminded of all my good fortune, the tangible and real blessing of having the Gospel in my life--of having Christ in my life. I am comforted.

Thank you, singers. Whoever you are, whatever your motives, thank you for singing in the lobby of Utah Valley Regional Medical Center tonight. You brought peace to my heart.

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