As many of you know, this time last year was definitely not my favorite time. On March 1, doctors found a cancerous tumor on my dad’s spine. The whole story is much longer and darker, and if you’re interested, you can read about it in previous posts. But today, I want to celebrate with you some of the beauty that came out of that time. When the docs found the tumor, they needed to remove it immediately. The spinal surgery left my dad in a back brace for several months. He called it his Breastplate of Righteousness (…a part of the armor of God!). The timing of all of this coincided with St. Patrick’s Day, and as I searched for ways to blog about it all, I decided to appropriately share St. Patrick’s Breastplate Prayer, in honor of my dad. I wrote a blog post about it on St. Patrick’s Day last year, and when my dad read it, he was immediately drawn to the (lengthy) text of the prayer, which he had not heard before in its entirety. He decided to set the text to music. The result, many months later, is an incredible 10-minute work with choir, organ, and brass. It is a testimony to the darkness and to the light of those days…a feeling that only my dad truly understands in this particular instance.
Now, a year later, dad is healthy and whole! It didn’t all just disappear… in fact, the cancer that he has – Multiple Myeloma – is incurable…much more like a chronic disease that he will always have, and need to learn to live with. But there are so many reasons to celebrate the recovery that has happened thus far! Several months ago, dad and I talked about having the choir at Luther Place (where I work) perform his piece. On March 20, just a few weeks ago, the dream became a reality. I even got the opportunity to conduct! What a joyous moment. Dad was not there for the premiere, so we videotaped/recorded it, which I’d like to share with you… Enjoy!
A haiku for the occasion:
demons, death, evil
conquered through new life and light
rise to the new day