A new moment of joy -- a stab of bright joy in the dark night -- struck me again while listening to Beethoven's tremendous Symphony no. 9; but that sudden light didn't begin to form until I read this from A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis:
But by praising [thinking of and describing the good qualities of the loved one who has passed away] I can still, in some degree, enjoy her, and already, in some degree, enjoy Him [God]...But perhaps I lack the gift. I see I've described H. as being like a sword. That's true as far as it goes. But utterly inadequate by itself, and misleading. I ought to have balanced it. I ought to have said, 'But also like a garden. Like a nest of gardens, wall within wall, hedge within hedge, more secret, more full of fragrant and fertile life, the further you entered.'
And then, of her, and of every created thing I praise, I should say, 'In some way, in its unique way, like Him who made it.'
Thus up from the garden to the Gardener, from the sword to the Smith. To the life-giving Life and Beauty that makes beautiful.
'She is in God's hands.' That gains a new energy when I think of her as a sword. Perhaps the earthly life I shared with her was only a part of the tempering. Now perhaps He grasps the hilt; weighs the new weapon; makes lightnings with it in the air. 'A right Jerusalem blade.'
--C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed, pp. 62-63
And as I mentioned in a previous post, the second movement of Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 has this joyous swoop of the melody where the strings (and later the winds) suddenly leap into the air like a kite shooting up on a gust of wind after lying dormant on the ground. The joy conquers me every time I hear it. I've pinpointed the exact spot in a YouTube video here:
And then, as C.S. Lewis did with the sword, I began to think of my Mom as that swooping melody in the Hands of the Composer; she is His creation in the end, and that swooping, leaping joy embodied everything that was her personality. I began to picture God in Heaven with my Mom, and as He plays some instrument, she leaps with the same melodic swoop, not because she is dancing but because she is actually the melody itself, composed and created by God.
And any composer who creates a beloved melody goes on humming it for the rest of his life.
It brought an unexpected comfort when I thought of it that way: God holds onto my mother with the same care and joy that a composer holds onto their favorite melody that they worked so hard to craft.
Singing a favorite tune in my own company -- because it's a favorite melody (or it's a song I like that's stuck in my head) -- has now taken on a completely different meaning.
Perhaps God holds onto us, to our souls, to our spirits -- long after we've passed from this earth -- like a composer hums a beloved melody, like Beethoven humming the second movement long after he composed it.