The Music of the Soul

I was so blessed this past weekend to spend time with my sister and friends learning and contemplating at the Great Homeschool Convention.  In my shallow estimation, I thought all of my time spent there would be to bless my home school journey.  You see, I still live with the mindset that life is segmented like subjects. If I'm going to a homeschool convention, what I learn will only apply to homeschool.

But life doesn't work that way...simple little boxes that don't overlap. Two words that were themes in the sessions I went to have taught me this more clearly in the last couple of days than ever before: harmony and home.

Music of the Soul (1)

The Soul Longs for Harmony

It wasn't two hours after I arrived home from the convention when I received a call from my brother-in-law that no one wants to hear: "My family has been in a horrible wreck.  I don't know what to do."

Sometimes you don't know the true definition until you experience the opposite.  Discord had entered my soul. While returning home from picking up her daughter from babysitting, something she'd done countless times before, my sister was hit from behind by a car who was flying down the highway, under the influence. In a flash, her life was taken.  Does this bring disharmony to your soul?

It doesn't take much of an imagination to think that this is a bad song, and make you want to change the channel. However simple songs with simple discordant moments aren't generally the characteristics of excellent music.  Excellent music takes you on a journey through the anguishes of the soul and then resolves the discord by bringing you "home".

The Soul Longs for Home

In music, "home" is the resolution.

What brings resolution to the discord of inexplicable death. Bringing justice to her killer? While that sounds promising, it's not the end that resolves the issue.  My relationship with my sister won't be restored by punishing another. I'm not saying that justice is wrong, but it won't fill my heart with joy. Restoration of relationship is what my soul longs for.

My sister tutored for Classical Conversations in the Challenge A program her daughter was in. In their last class, my niece told me that her mom looked each of the students in the eye, and said, "Do you know for sure that when you die you'll go to heaven? Because I do."

My sister's song has come to a beautiful resolution, but those she left behind are still waiting for our songs to come home, the glorious reuniting with our loved ones in Heaven. The music of our soul longs for home. While I am still a student seeking understanding to the deeper beauty that lies in songs built on the complexities of tragedy, grief, and loss, I am choosing to trust in the Song Writer.

My husband shared this poem with me as we walk this road together.


The Glance

by George Herbert

When first thy sweet and gracious eye

Vouchsafed even in the midst of youth and night

To look upon me, who before did lie

                                Weltering in sin;

I felt a sugared strange delight,

Passing all cordials made by any art,

Bedew, embalm, and overrun my heart,

                                        And take it in.

Since that time many a bitter storm

My soul hath felt, even able to destroy,

Had the malicious and ill-meaning harm

                                                     His swing and sway:

But still thy sweet original joy

Sprung from thine eye, did work within my soul,

And surging griefs, when they grew bold, control,

                                                And got the day.

If thy first glance so powerful be,

A mirth but opened and sealed up again;

What wonders shall we feel, when we shall see

                            Thy full-eyed love.

When thou shalt look us out of pain, 

And one aspect of thine spend in delight

More than a thousand suns disburse in light

                                     In heaven above.

My sister is experiencing the joy of the full-eyed love of God that is true, good, and beautiful produces harmony of a song greater than the brilliance of a thousand suns, where pain is gone.

Harmony. Home.

When my dad passed away all too soon, we were comforted by C.S. Lewis's ending to the great Narnia series, and I find myself again contemplating this passage and finding comfort.

All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on for ever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.


  1. Julie wooddell on March 21, 2016 at 1:59 pm

    Further up and Further In! Harmony & Home- that was beautiful Betsy! We are so sorry for your loss and praying for your family and Amy’s.

    • Betsy on March 21, 2016 at 1:59 pm

      Yes! Further up and further in. Thank you for your prayers.

  2. Nita Cadenhead on March 21, 2016 at 3:11 pm

    Betsy, as always your words touch me. My heart goes out to you and your family. I am praying for you all to feel the arms of God surrounding you and giving you comfort.

    • Betsy on March 21, 2016 at 4:06 pm

      Thank you Nita. So blessed by all of the support.

  3. Mandy Hunt on March 21, 2016 at 4:48 pm

    I am so sorry for your great loss. Amy was always a blessing, and I feel honored to know her. The last practicum I worked, I spent much of the time with Amy. I am so grateful for that.
    Thank you for this beautiful post that glorifies God in the midst of your pain. I love what you said about knowing that Amy is experiencing God’s “full-eyed” love brings harmony to this discord. Your whole family is in our prayers.

  4. Sara on March 21, 2016 at 5:13 pm

    Betsy, I’m so sorry to hear about your loss. You and your family will be in my thoughts and prayers.

  5. Jennifer Juen on March 21, 2016 at 8:15 pm

    Thank you for this beautiful blog entry. Even in the midst of your grief you are blessing others. I briefly met your sister at the Lakeside practicum last summer. This is only my 2nd year homeschooling and she was a tremendous help to me and encouraged me. I also remember that I was on the fence about buying the thick synonym finder book and she told me it would be a great purchase I wouldn’t regret getting. She was right. We have used it MANY times this past year and I have thought of her and her encouragement each time we used it. She was a wonderful woman and her children are blessed to have had such an amazing mother. My heart aches for all of you. You have all been in our prayers since we found out.

    • Betsy on March 21, 2016 at 8:17 pm

      Thank you for sharing this. She loved talking about books and encouraging moms. Thank you so much for your prayers.

  6. Libby Slaughter on March 22, 2016 at 10:19 am

    I’ve been thinking about you. And praying. I have been in a state of sadness and/or heaviness since I heard about Amy. I needed this beautiful perspective today. Thank you for writing it up even in the midst of it all. See you soon. -Libby

  7. Andrew on March 22, 2016 at 10:51 am

    Dear Betsy,

    We are all aching for you and for your family, including Amy’s. We have all – but especially those who loved her so well – lost something precious and only that look of Full-eyed love makes sense of it.

    May you know as never before the Heavenly King, the Comforter, The Spirit of Truth, Who is present everywhere and fills all things, Who is the Treasury of Every Good and the Giver of Life.

    • Betsy on March 22, 2016 at 11:20 am

      Andrew, I am so grateful for the overflow of wisdom that you so generously give. Your words have been a great comfort to me.

  8. Susie Dcunha on March 22, 2016 at 1:11 pm

    Betsy, you are a beautiful person. Even in grief you bless others with rich truth graciously communicated. I love you!

  9. Hannah on March 22, 2016 at 1:29 pm

    Betsy, my heart aches for your family right now. Amy’s smile has been an image that I have seen often in my mind these past few days. Praying for your whole family as loneliness and longing encompasses. Thank you for your well-written words. No doubt I will be comforted by them again and again.

  10. Ami on March 22, 2016 at 2:04 pm

    What a beautiful image you’ve given us. So sorry for your loss and so so sad for her precious kiddos. Praying for peace that passes understanding.

  11. Kathy Adams on March 22, 2016 at 10:45 pm

    I am Addy’s Aunt, she shared your tragic news wtih me, she I heart sick. Please accept my prayers and sympathy. I am thankful that God says in His word blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted. I pray you all feel his sustaining love during this difficult time.

    • Betsy on March 22, 2016 at 10:47 pm

      Oh I love that. A wise woman once told me, “God does not give you grace for your imagination, but grace for the moment.” I’ve felt His comfort through the hugs of so many wonderful people. Thanks for your prayers. They’re so precious to me!

  12. Misty on March 23, 2016 at 9:52 am

    I am so sorry for your loss Betsy. Praying for you and your family ❤️

  13. Betty Derden on March 24, 2016 at 5:05 pm

    I have not stopped thinking of all of Amy’s family since my daughter, Sharla, called me on Sunday to tell me about Amy. I attended the celebration yesterday with my family, and it was a beautiful tribute to Amy and all of her family. I am still thinking of you all and praying for you as sooooo many are doing. As a mom I am thinking of your mom so much. I asked your husband if he could make a copy of the CD of the service for me because I could not hear some of the beautiful comments. Please tell him that I am sorry I asked. That was so insensitive of me, and forgive me. Tell him to please forget my request.

  14. Kristi on March 26, 2016 at 4:15 pm

    I’m praying for you and your family, Betsy. Thank you for being so transparent. You are being upheld by so many!

  15. Amy Maze on April 1, 2016 at 8:17 pm

    I’m so sorry for your loss =( You have expressed your thoughts beautifully.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.