“Making Sense of A Song of Ascents” — by Marilyn Puett

On January 1, 1970, my father died quite suddenly from a massive coronary.  I was 18, had just finished my first quarter of college and was in the last few days of my holiday and quarter break.  I remember two things about his funeral:  my high school English teacher attended and the minister read Psalms 121 (the King James version — I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.).  The day after the funeral, I returned to college to begin a new quarter.  The college I attended, Western Carolina University, is located in the Smoky Mountains, and once I got back, I was able to look out my dorm window every day and lift up my eyes unto the hills.  I derived much comfort from staring at those mountains and discovered the beauty of them during every season.
In 1980, my husband, young son and I moved to Huntsville and to our delight, our home had a wonderful view of Monte Sano.  I was again able to lift my eyes unto the hills and feel at peace with God and the world.
In 2009, I suffered another loss – the loss of my marriage.  It was unexpected, just like my father’s death.  But it was not sudden.  It dragged on for over a year.  My husband had pulled us away from the church a number of years ago.   As my marriage was ending, I never asked God what I’d done to deserve it, because I’d done nothing wrong.  I did ask “Why me?” so many times I’m sure He got tired of hearing me.
Then in the early fall of 2009 I felt the need to return to church.  I knew I wanted a church where I’d never be judged for being divorced and planned to attend churches of various denominations until I found one where I felt at home.  Then I remembered the United Church of Christ my ex-husband and I had driven by so many times on our way to the church we attended on Airport Road.  A voice told me to return to my roots.  My father’s family is firmly entrenched in the German Reformed Church/Evangelical and Reformed Church/United Church of Christ.  The first Sunday I attended United Church of Huntsville, you were ill and Kathy Ressler read your sermon.  Something in it spoke to me, and I decided to attend the following Sunday.  Once again, I was tapped on the shoulder by something in the sermon or the music or the welcome I received or perhaps all of the above.  After three Sundays, I finally acknowledged those taps on my shoulder and said, “Okay, God.  I hear ya!”

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