Only minutes after getting tucked in, a child in this house is usually completely lost to the dense interior of the Land of Nod.
One time, after saying good night, I left her to her sleep and was cheered to see a pile of presents in the living room--the Christmas stash my visiting parents had brought. It was February, but as illness had canceled original Christmas plans, there was no need to stand on ceremony. The older kids and I would open our gifts then and there; the one I left in bed would get hers the next day.
But for once her dreamboat didn't leave at the scheduled time. Next thing I know, she has audaciously walked out of her room and come to us, curious, smiling, hopeful at the sound of crinkling paper and cheerful voices.
"Go back to bed!" Sergeant Hall whisper-barked, guiding Cindy Lou Who back to the bedroom. Unlike her Dr. Seuss foil, this child was not persuaded everything was okay. There were tears.
As I stood outside the door, I simmered with disappointment that I hadn't foreseen this scenario. Why could we not have waited ten minutes? But I was also angry at the pointlessness of it. If she had obeyed and stayed, she would never have supposed she was missing out on gifts. Truthfully, she wasn't. Hers would come the next day.
If she had only obeyed and stayed.
I wondered about myself.
How often have I allowed my thoughts to wander discontentedly, wishing to seize gifts not intended for me?
I don't know.
I do know my winter plans were wrested from my hands this year by a medical crisis. My family is getting used to a new level of care for my son. We're upside down in the water and taking the current one stroke at a time. I had no gifts to share this winter. My piano studio was halted for the semester. "Flourishing" is a prayer request, not a felt state of being.
But the gifts of others have meant something. The gifted psalmist somehow found words that expressed both his plight in the ancient Middle East as well as the plight of an American woman in blue jeans. The forties and fifties of the psalter have spoken to me especially this winter.
Then there are the gifts of other music makers. Not that I've always wanted to listen to something. Sometimes only silence would do. But for other moments---
My husband and son gave JJ Heller a lot of spins in the hospital room, particularly these:
Jess Ray's "Runaway" was also on repeat.
As for me, I often wanted music that was upbeat but not saccharine. Land of Color served the purpose. I recommend their whole catalog.
A couple new releases with more of a hip hop bent were welcome, too, such as this one.
And my husband and I both took to this quirky number by John Van Deusen.
You can hear these songs and several more on this playlist, named for the room my son spent fifty days in.
But I must mention one more artist, this time from the other side of the musical spectrum: violist Simone Libralon. One doesn't sleep well when nurses and respiratory therapists are visiting one throughout the night. So one evening Libralon's interpretation of six Bach suites played for hours and hours, at the ready with calming beauty for my son's waking moments. The whole album is a treasure.
If you are a believer, I do welcome your prayers for my family, that we can rest, flourish, and be fruitful in God's wisdom and timing. Thank you.