It's no secret I love listening to the choir concerts at Emma's high school. There are five choirs and they work hard to produce a great evening of entertainment. The award winning elite chamber choir is especially amazing. I think my favorite part of each concert is when the Women's Choir sings though. It is one of the non-audition choirs. This year, there are three girls in the choir with Down syndrome. These three pretty girls stand near the front. They smile and sing their hearts out. Sometimes, often, they are very off-key.
The girls around them, fellow choir members, don't flinch. They sing their hearts out too. The choir director leads on. After each number, the audience members clap their loud applause and Mr. Wilcock turns with a smile, bows, and then gestures toward the choir. He indicates and acknowledges that they deserve the applause.
I love the experience because no one cares that they're off-key. In a concert that I look forward to for its beautiful music, those off-key notes and the absolute acceptance of the off-key notes are a beautiful thing.
Yesterday, I took a carload of youth to the temple to perform proxy baptisms. Among them was one of the laurels who has special needs. Sometimes she has a difficult time understanding what's going on around her. New experiences are hard and multi-step instructions are hard.
She really wanted to perform a baptism for her grandmother though.
When we got in the car, she didn't have the card she needed with her grandma's name. I don't think she knew that was a thing. We picked up some boys and they told me some other boys wanted to go too. So we drove to their houses. One of the boys was in shorts and a t-shirt. He said he'd quickly change. While he did, I started texting to try to locate the name we needed for a baptism. No one had it. It was assumed the group that had gone that morning at 4:30 must have inadvertently done the baptism already. (I'm glad I'm not in the 4:30 a.m. group, by the way.)
Since we were gathering more boys, and we were across the street from one of the Young Men leader's house, I decided to go get more names from him for the boys to do. I had a little time while the boys were getting ready.
He handed me a stack of cards. On top of the pile was the card for my dear girl's grandmother!
It seemed like such a small thing, but it also seemed like a great big enormous thing. Through a confluence of coincidences and mishaps, miscommunications and boys not ready to go, we were able to find the name!
It was slow going at the temple. I needed to explain and reassure all along the way. My girl asked me a lot of questions and she had a smile as big as I've ever seen. It meant the world to her that she was able to be there for her grandma and it meant the world to me that I was able to be there for her.
Both of these experiences have reminded me of an important truth. Heavenly Father loves us.
That's all there is to it.
Watching and hearing the off-key chorus that was accepted and loved like it was perfect, reminded me that when we are off-key and struggling, we are accepted and loved.
Seeing the series of small tender mercies unfold so a sweet 16 year old girl could get baptized for her grandma, reminded me that Heavenly Father knows us. He knows what we want and what we need and He will help us.