Karaoke sisters

My mom and I celebrate Aunt Agnes' 93rd birthday at the nursing home.

I crashed a Karaoke party today. Didn’t plan to and sure didn’t expect to join in. But around 11:00 a pitiful rendition of “My Girl” was sadly mine, performing (a loose term) for excited fans (another loose term). They were kind, I’ll say that much. Nursing home residents usually are.

It was supposed to be a quick visit, a pick-me-up for lonely Aunt Agnes. We found her at activity hour, a “Happy Birthday” balloon tied to the wheelchair. She pointed toward the lyric screen, waving blue-thin hands in the air. We made eye contact. She grinned and pointed. What (gulp) choice did I have?

I’ve got sunshine on a cloudy day.
When it’s cold outside, I’ve got the month of May.
I guess you’d say, “What can make me feel this way?”
My girl (My girl, My girl),

Talkin’ ‘bout my girl….

A lady in front, literally under my nose, supplied the chorus ooh’s. She had perfect pitch—really beautiful—but when offered the microphone she waved me off. Maybe she wasn’t all there. You know, out of it. Seconds later, I flubbed a line. “You got that wrong!” she yelled with an eye roll. I stand corrected. 🙂

One worker—a nursing home saint with cross earrings—sat close to a turban wearing grandma. Neither had a worry in the world. They distracted me in a this-is-too-good-to-be-real kinda way: Holding hands, whispering secrets, smiling sweetly. Grandma Turban closed her eyes when she chuckled. She closed her eyes a lot.

I’ve got so much honey that the bees envy me.
I’ve got a sweeter song than the birds in the trees.
I guess you’d say, “What can make me feel this way?”
My girl (My girl, My girl)

Talkin’ ‘bout my girl….

I wish you could see this next part. Picture the cafeteria ladies arriving with food carts. They stop and listen, just for a minute. Then there’s a finger snap. And a little step and sing action. And suddenly they’re part of the show, dancing between wheelchairs with moves existing only in my dreams. They take over the song (Whew!), getting stronger, feeding off shaky high fives and toothless grins. They ARE the Temptations (Well, Temptations with hair nets). We clap and cheer as pure glee unites us. And here is the truth, ‘cause I feel it: In this moment, everyone in the room has everything she needs.

I don’t need no money, no fortune, or fame.
I’ve got all the riches, Baby, one man can claim.
I guess you’d say, “What can make me feel this way?”
My girl (My girl, My girl)

Talkin’ ‘bout my girl….

Then just like that, the moment passes. Working ladies return to their carts. Karaoke is unplugged, and Mrs. Eye Roll loses her spunk. Grandma Turban opens her eyes. But something lingers—something special—and it’s sticking to me.

I felt God in that room. Sounds strange I know, but right in the middle of “My Girl” He was there. (He always is.) But maybe it’s not so unlikely, considering a couple of things: One, He helps us help each other. Two, this morning I prayed, “Lord, surprise me. Use me however you want, and let me see the joy in it.” Well, joy showed up in buckets. So did love–big, authentic, breathtaking. God willing, tomorrow will be the same.

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“The LORD your God is living among you. He is a mighty Savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With His love, He will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”

Zephaniah 3:17

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