5 02 2022

My mother was once a Nun in the convent. She had a deep and devoted faith in God and had hoped to someday be a missionary to work with children in an orphanage in China. Life had other plans and she ended up marrying my dad and had me as their firstborn child. For that last decision, I am eternally grateful. Still, even though my Mother traded in her habit for the home life, the yearning to be wholly available to the Lord to do something extraordinary never left her soul.

Fast forward to 1965 and the premiere of the movie, The Sound of Music. As many of you know, Julie Andrews played Maria von Trapp who was sent to the villa of the retired naval officer and widower to become the governess to his seven children. Music and love were reintroduced to the family and after marrying the Captain, they find the faith and fortitude to survive the loss of their homeland to the Nazis. When that film hit the big screen, Mom became obsessed with the story. At the time she was the mother of four children, and she didn’t take us to see the movie once or twice. She brought us to see it seven times in the first few weeks. When she got us all home, she made us sit down on the living room floor and learn all the songs. To this day, I know every word and can sing it backwards and forwards. And as for the movie dialogue, I have that down too. The one line that has never left me was when Maria runs back to the Abbey because she is overwhelmed and confused. Maria is looking to hide away but Mother Superior challenges the young woman to do otherwise. Before the wise old Sister sings the showstopper, Climb Every Mountain, she tells Maria, “When God closes a door, somewhere He opens a window.” I have lived lots of life ever since then, but in the wake of many slamming doors, I have always searched for those open windows.

People make lots of promises. Spouses make vows to one another on their wedding day. Parents pledge that they will take us with them the next time around. Friends swear that they will never let us down. But no matter what, no matter where and no matter who, contracts are broken, and dedications destroyed. Good and faithful workers get replaced in a heartbeat. Older and worn-out individuals are swapped for a younger model. Hearts are busted in two. Souls become inanimate numbers on a page. And the ones left in the dust scamper to attempt to pick up any pieces of dignity so they may survive for another day.

I have lived lots of life these last 62 years. And like Maria von Trapp, it would have been so easy to run away from the chaos and confusion and allow the collapsed covenants on the troubled trail make me nothing more than cynical and hard hearted. But when the misery of midnight might hijack my heart, the morning music from somewhere draws my true self to walk on. When earth shuts down, heaven opens. When lying lips look to deceive the daylight away, the truth of God assures me the sun will rise again. If the hills are alive with the sound of music, I must not get too depressed in the dryness of the desert. Maybe today it is time to tune in and turn on so you can turn up the notes that guarantee you that your story isn’t over if God hasn’t pronounced, “It is finished!”

I thought I was going to pastor the Lighthouse Church in Cape May County until the day I went to heaven. I had the place picked out where my ashes could be laid on the day I graduated to glory. I thought I knew where this song was going because I had sung it so many times before. And in a moment, in a twinkling of an eye, everything changed, and portals were plugged up and the wide-open lanes got lost. I didn’t panic, I prayed and immediately searched for that open window. I wasn’t ready to leave the concert and asked God to write me an encore. This is how I found myself in Shamokin. When the dog barked and the bees wanted my confidence to be stung for good, I simply remembered God’s my favorite and faithful One and suddenly I wasn’t feeling bad at all. I was ready to follow this new divine rainbow and discover the pot of gold lying right here in Coal Township, Pennsylvania.

Just this past week, the Radio Station I was with for the last 22 years informed that my services, while appreciated, were no longer needed. The new management was heading in a different direction. My Wednesday Night program was kaput! I didn’t even have the chance to feel sorry for myself before my phone rang again and John Treese of WISL 1480 was offering me the opportunity to do their Morning Show. I smiled and said a simple prayer of, “Thanks Lord.” If I’m not dead, I’m not done. The window flung up, the shades were drawn back, and God’s hope got in my eyes. When you know the place to look, you can still go and write that book. Human beings will let you down, but God is good at lifting us up if we surrender the temptation to put our fists though the wall and give the Lord a chance to highlight the skylight.

Mom never was that Missionary to China, but she led me to the music here in America. And I can hear the orchestra tuning up for the next showstopper. My heart still wants to sing every song it hears or at the very least, play the wonderful oldies but goodies on the radio. I want my ministry to beat like the wings of the birds that rise from the lake to the trees. Come on Shamokin. Do you hear the sound of music? People will continue to scratch your records but I’m going to crank the jukebox that Jesus blessed me with until my days are done. Forget about that locked door. It’s time to wander over to that wide open window.



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