After my cancer diagnosis in 2009 I decided that I would no longer put off some of the things that I had longed to do. I have wanted to sing for a really long time. So I decided to take singing lessons. A friend suggested a voice teacher who happens to live within walking distance from my home. Whoopy, how perfect!
I set the appointment with Gary and we began by asking what song I wanted to sing. The song was from the movie “The Preacher’s Wife” written by Richard Smallwood and performed by Whitney Houston. While the lyrics are quite simple the song is filled with rifs and requires substantial skill. Gary said, “not to worry.”
Week after week Gary and I met to practice the vocal scale and to sing the song. I remember Gary asking me why I liked the song, and I replied, “ Gary, it speaks right out of my heart.”
When I was diagnosed with cancer I could not believe that what had been indigestion one day was cancer the next. Things moved “dizzingly” fast. Blood tests were taken, scans were completed, lots of time spent speaking to the surgeon suddenly filled my days. Before I knew it, we had set a date for surgery in a matter of days. My husband had a trip planned and I told him to keep his plans. His absence afforded me quiet time. I waved him goodbye and hastened to the labyrinth in our backyard. My husband had wanted a swimming pool to cope with Houston summers, but I needed a labyrinth to cope with life period and all its seasons. He gave in.
I entered the labyrinth at the heart of our garden and my heart cried out to God. The labyrinth led me to the throne of God, the Quiet center. For me, I feel God’s love there and know that I am beloved. I knew were to go. I poured out my heart to God. I pondered, “Is surgery your will? Is there another way? Should I believe for a supernatural miracle?” Midway into the labyrinth I heard “WAIT.”
It was the word I needed. I postponed the surgery so that I could hear further from God. In the meantime I got my body ready.Islowed down. I changed my diet with the help of my medical doctor who is also a naturopath. I nourished my soul with scripture on cd’s morning and night. I intentionally got with friends that I hadn’t made time for, people who were life- giving to me, for tea or just to chat and enjoy each other. I engaged in art and yoga. I cancelled everything that was stressful and wasn’t life-giving. I knew that whatever was ahead would require me bringing the best me to the table as possible. I did have the surgery all is well.
So my song of choice that Gary is helping me to sing is really my testimony of how I survived mucinous spindle cell carcinoma.
Here are the words to the song:
I love the Lord
He heard my cry
And pitied every groan.
Long as I live
While troubles rise
I’ll hasten to his throne.
I love the Lord
He heard my cry
And chased my grief away
Oh let my heart
No more despair
While I have breath to pray.
Vamp: I’ll hasten to his throne.
To hear the song that helped form my soul go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WcjP4LgW0Rw
Juanita Campbell Rasmus is an inspirational speaker, motivational teacher, author, and founding board member of the Bread of Life Homeless Project. Juanita and her husband Rudy co-pastor Saint John’s United Methodist Church in Houston, Texas.