“Making Sense of A Song of Ascents” — by Marilyn PuettPosted: May 22, 2011
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!”