Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Song of the Heart

* * * * * * * * * *
Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; and break forth into singing, O mountains: for the Lord hath comforted his people, and will have mercy upon his afflicted. - Isaiah 49:13

I grew up in a family who loves to sing. We all love singing in church, harmonizing with each other on all of the hymns, and we even love singing at home at the drop of a hat. We are literally a real life musical. If someone says something that reminds any of us of a song, we all break into that part of the song and then be done and go on with conversation. Aaron always got a kick out of this. Growing up, when we were at church, we would all try to take different parts on the song to harmonize with each other. My sister, Lisa, and I would actually take turns with the parts. One verse, I would sing soprano and she would sing alto. The next verse, we would switch. We both loved singing alto better, so that made it fair. We all just loved to sing.

Aaron loved to sing as well, but rarely sang loud enough for anyone to hear him. I remember when we first got married, we were having our first 'Family Night' and we got the hymn book out and we sang a song together. If I remember correctly, I think we sang 'Families Can Be Together Forever'. Aaron sang loud enough for me to hear him and I can't even express how much I loved it. He was insecure about his singing. He had been told in the past that he couldn't sing, so he didn't like to sing loud enough to be heard. Well, no matter what Aaron thought he sounded like, hearing him sing was always music to my ears and it always brought joy to my soul. He did sing along with the radio often and if I strained my ears and he didn't notice, then I could hear him sing and I loved it. I would love to be able to hear him sing again.

After Aaron and I got married, he was always encouraging me to join the ward choir at church. Even though I grew up in a family that loves to sing, I just wasn't interested in being in the ward choir. He never stopped encouraging me to join.

Well, a little more than a month before Aaron passed away, I finally joined the ward choir. I only attended a couple of practices before Aaron was gone... I never even had a chance to perform with the ward choir while he was here.

Once Aaron passed away, I stopped being interested in singing. I joined in on the songs at his funeral, but besides that, I had no interest in singing. I would still sing little fun songs to Aaron Jr. in the car, but singing at church became a spectator thing for me. Sometimes, the tune would get the better of me and I would start to hum along, but I always stopped myself because I just wanted to listen. Singing always brought me joy and part of me just didn't want to feel that joy, so I deprived myself of singing because I could still enjoy the music and words even if I wasn't participating.

All year, my mom has tried to pass me hymn books to encourage me to sing, but I would either put them away or just hold them and read along. I don't know why I chose not to sing, but I think it had something to do with finally giving in to Aaron's pleas to join the choir and then he was taken. I think I felt like I didn't deserve to feel the joy I felt from singing the hymns anymore. No matter how much I wanted to sing, I didn't let myself.

Well, yesterday, my mom was speaking in church, so we went to listen to her. A few of my siblings came as well and I sat next to my sister, Lisa. During the first song, she put the hymn book over in front of me to let me share with her. I resisted, but she insisted. I finally started to hum the alto while she sang the soprano. Aaron Jr. was on my lap and once I started humming along, he instantly looked up at me to see where it was coming from. He hadn't heard me sing in church since Aaron passed away. When I saw his reaction, I couldn't believe it. He couldn't stop looking at me. I didn't realize throughout this year that I was setting the wrong example for Aaron Jr. So, once I realized that he was surprised to hear me, I decided to sing the words instead of just humming. So, I started singing the words. At that moment, he looked at my mouth and just stared at my mouth for so long as I sang the words to 'All Creatures of our God and King'. It brought tears to my eyes as I felt the spirit and felt joy that Aaron Jr. was getting to hear his mom singing praises unto the Lord.

The same thing happened on the next song. Once I started singing, he instantly looked and stared at my mouth for a while. It was heartbreaking for me looking back on this year and knowing the example I was setting. That song was 'I Stand All Amazed'. The emotions overtook me on that one.

It has just been so difficult for me to sing this year. I guess I felt like I had to deprive myself of some of the things that brought joy. I was so devastated that Aaron was gone, so I desprived myself of certain joys that were in my control.

Aaron Jr. has recently started singing a few little one liners from songs on Sesame Street and shows like that. I have been so proud to hear him trying to sing and it has caused me to want to sing with him. I know for a fact how much Aaron enjoyed singing and I know he would be so proud if his son grew up singing and enjoying to sing. I plan to be a better example in this.

From now on, I plan to sing in church. I want to feel the spirit that comes from it.

For my soul delighted in the song of the heart; yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me, and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads. - Doctrine and Covenants 25:12


I love you, Aaron. My soul delights in the song of your heart...

* * *

22 comments:

LL said...

one more brave step for you! that was so touching...thanks for sharing your story. I wish i was next to you in church so i could hear your voice. I do remember the singing talent your family was blessed with.

Mindy said...

Leslie, I am so glad that you've found your voice again! I know that Aaron Jr. will always love to hear his mom sing, and I think Aaron would be proud of you. I love your voice, and I love you!

dani said...

:)
love,
dani

Anonymous said...

You need to read a post at adailyscoop.blogspot.com she is talking about not being able to sing. Both of you posted on this today. You are always in my thoughts and prayers.


Lisa

The Heiners said...

The idea that you felt you had to deprive yourself of anything after losing Aaron breaks my heart. As if you hadn't been through enough already. Les, you truly are a gift from Heavenly Father. For Aaron, Aaron Jr., your family and the rest of us who find you amazing. I can promise you that there is nothing Aaron would rather see than you and Aaron Jr. feeling joy. Sing your heart out, girl!

Kristi said...

I didn't notice you NOT singing at church with us. I am actually surprised that you hadn't been singing since you have said how much you wished that Aaron would grow up loving to sing.
I am sure little Aaron loved to hear you sing on Sunday. All you Higginsons sound so wonderful. I miss the gatherings where people would take turns singing solos or together. Please don't bury your talents. I get mad at Spencer for having the same anti-choir attitude as you have described in yourself.

Seesalou said...

leslie, i can't tell you how thrilling it was for me when you started singing with me at church on sunday. i have missed that. it took me straight back to when we were teenagers sitting on the bench in sacrament doing that. so, thank you for singing with me. i love it. and remember, you are meant to have joy. never let satan tell you otherwise. love you.

Tawnie said...

Thank you for singing again Leslie. Don't waste such a beautiful talent you have!! I am jealous of it!! What a sweet testimony. Thank you for sharing.

Natalie said...

beautiful....

Anonymous said...

That post made me happy.

Love to you Leslie,

Jane

Katie said...

I don't know you, but I came across your blog and I have to tell you that you are an inspiation. You are a hero and what you have gone through is so difficult, but I'm sure when your little boy grows up he will be so proud of the mother he has and you will be his hero.

The Heiners said...

By the way, my maiden name is Reynolds.

Amber said...

You cannot deprive the world of your beautiful voice. I LOVED listening to both you and Lisa sing - I wanted to have your voice when I grew up (didn't happen :-))! Aaron Jr. needs to hear that voice as much as possible. Thanks for sharing.

Sandy said...

Have been reading your blog for the longest time and I was so touched today by your post. It has inspired me to look at areas where I deprive myself of the Joy that is waiting for me to take hold of. I have struggled with prayer lately and have been so touched by your example. Today I am more committed to turn to my father in heaven in prayer because of you. Thank You!

Anonymous said...

Higgy,
This post somehow reminded me of the great memories of the old days in England together. You're an angel and I'm happy to hear that you are taking small steps while still being honest and real with yourself. I thought of a quote that I have on my desk at work, "Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, 'I will try again.'" Continue to be brave and have courage my dear friend. I think of you often and thank God for the opportunity to know you. Love you.

Patty

yellowoman said...

Les,

Can't believe what a "coincidence" to have such a poignant moment on the same day regarding the singing of hymns!!! I too happened to be sitting in church on the same day next to my Mom (who I haven't had the priveledge of sitting next to in church for quite some time). She made it to my son's baby blessing, if that wasn't miracle enough!!! I wrote to her later in the sacrament meeting what a joy it was to have such fond memories of being a child, sitting on that same side of her, and hearing her beautiful voice singing of the Savior. It was and still is the only voice that gives me the confidence to sing along with her in my "true" voice. I wrote to her of the joy I felt now to be a mother, sitting next to her and singing once again of the Savior with her. I too thought of the influence on my own children and how much I desired for them to have that sense of security in hearing me bare testimony through song. We both shed tears of joy and bonded in a unique and amazing way. The spirit was so strong.
It is joy, true joy, deep and lasting joy to sing the hymns and they are a prayer to the Lord. I will join you in the quest to be a better example in this, to sing and to feel the spirit that comes from it. I love you, my friend.

Gneiting said...

Leslie,
I've been following your blog now for months, although I seldom leave comments (which I know I should be better about!). I just want to let you know how much this post has touched my heart. I ache for you and little Aaron, and am amazed at the example you have been for the rest of us, albiet even through your trials.

I think you've told a beautiful story of true healing, in that often times we deprive ourselves of our joys as to not forget our pain - although surely we will never forget.

Wishing you the very best, and hoping you can see the beautiful person you've become.

Claudette

Karlyn said...

I'm so glad that you are singing again. I remember listening to the two of you sing back in the day and just being in awe of how easy it was for you guys.

You were blessed with a beautiful and amazing voice....always share it.

Clippy Mat said...

So glad for you that you have found again this lovely form of expression.
:-))

kathryn said...

Dear Leslie:

This post about you singing was referenced in another blog so I decided to drop in for a visit with you and Aaron Jr.

You have my deepest sympathy on the passing of Aaron. What a heartache thing to endure!

Your strength, honesty and faith are an inspiration to all of you readers. You give powerful testimony!

I read back through your posts and wasn't able to discern what caused Aaron's sudden passing. If it is a private matter, I totally understand.

I know it will gladden you heart when I tell you how obvious it is that Aaron Jr. is such a happy little tyke. You must be sure proud of him as is his father.

I admire you so for treasuring and keeping all the memories to be shared with Aaron Jr. Without ever having met Aaron, I know he must be pleased with the way you are raising his son.

You are in my prayers,
kathryn

Joann said...

I love to hear you sing, Leslie. I have only heard you on a few occasions, but hearing you talk about your family...well, it just makes me feel like I belong there. Sometimes it drives Justin nuts, but I break into song ALL THE TIME!!! Anyway, I am super happy that you found the strenght to start to enjoy singins again. Maybe we can do a little together. Hmmmm....

The Pohlman Family said...

Leslie,
Reading your blog reminded me of an experiance I had involving Aaron and music. I remember it was my first time ever having to speak in sacrament meeting (youth speaker). I was so nerveous in the first place. It didn't help that it was also Aarons Missionary Homecoming (doubling the congregation). The only thing about that whole day I remember is that they sang "Called to serve" and the whole stage was vibrating because Aaron and the bishopbric were so into the song that they were tapping their feet on the foor. My nerveous spirit was calmed with inner laughter. I don't know if that story helps. But I do know that its always important to keep memories of people alive. You are loved more than you know....please don't waste the beautiful talent that God has given you. I have always wished I had the talent to sing but I finally came to terms and decided that I'll just wait till I can sing in Heavens Choir. You are AMAZING!