This is my first blog post since writing “Farewell to Jack, aka Lucky Girl” back in July. I have had many thoughts to share, but each time I took a step toward writing a new post my heart would not let me proceed. As I write this I wonder if I’ll have the courage to hit “Publish.” If you’re reading it now, you know the answer.

My beloved husband of nearly 24 years died on June 27. By mid-July I was still sobbing a good part of each day, and I knew I had to do something to help myself feel better. One of the things I looked forward to with our new dog Dixie (rescued this past March) was going for local hikes, which we had not been able to do with Jack’s critical situation. It was time to start a new habit.

The first place we went after making this decision was a place called Cedar Park Trails, a system of trails meandering through many acres of the El Dorado National Forest along Sly Park Road. It was a weekday, and not long after entering the trail I heard music. I stopped and let Dixie sniff around the base of a giant oak tree snag while I listened. At first it sounded like an orchestra tuning, followed moments later by Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy.”

Music in the middle of the forest!? I felt like I was in a dream, or maybe a movie. Particularly because a couple of my classical guitar friends played “Ode to Joy” at Jack’s and my wedding. Surely this was one of the most bizarre, most rapturous moments of my life. Before I knew what I was doing, my arms were up in the air and I was twirling slowly in place. If anyone saw me I didn’t care…the experience was pure euphoria.

As the dream-like quality wore off, I listened intently. No it was not my imagination, there really was an orchestra playing, and its music surrounded me. With no evidence to the contrary, I believed a heavenly orchestra was serenading me. Suddenly, a verse flooded my mind:

For the LORD your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.    —Zeph 3:17 (NLT)

I heard music three more times in July and August, sometimes riotous, sometimes melodic. At last Dixie and I went in search of the sound, crossing Sly Park Road and following horns and strings into a camp adjacent to a fire station and the EID water treatment plant. Aha, Sugarloaf Fine Arts Camp! When did it move west from Kyburz to this location?

But do you know what? I still feel like I have been serenaded by God and His angelic orchestra rather than a group of school-age boys and girls. God knew I would be there at just the right moment to hear “Ode to Joy,” and He knew the significance of that particular piece of music. He knew I needed my spirits lifted. He knew the music would carry me through weeks of difficulty.

And do you know what else? I’ve come to believe that God serenades us a lot more frequently than we realize. And we’ll hear it, if we will but listen.

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