Singing to Margaret
by Lea Gillespie Gant
Southern churches, Southern steeples, old-time hymns, and singing people.
Altar calls, revival meetings, potlucks, praying, preaching, greetings.
While sermons surely were the meat, for me, the singing was the sweet.
A little lass I stood beside my grandmother and sang with pride.
Those songs about The Promised Land, with head held high and book in hand.
I loved those true, old hymns so much, I sang them often outside of church.
As I ran and as I played, they happily filled my childhood days.
Then, one day, sunny summer clear, a bee stung Margaret on her ear.
Oh, how my little sister cried! Each tear I stood nearby and dried.
Grandmother said, “Sing to Margaret, dear.” So, I lifted my voice, loud and clear.
“Jesus loves me, this I know. For the Bible tells me so.” I sang.
And so began my lifelong task of singing to Margaret each time she asked.
“Sing to me, Annabelle,” she would say, if something went amiss in her day.
When she broke her leg, I helped her keep a smile that graced her pretty cheeks.
“Leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms.” I sang.
When Margaret’s friends crushed her heart, I faithfully stood and did my part.
“Let us have a little talk with Jesus. Let us tell Him all about our troubles.” I sang.
When she married that fickle, finagling Fred, who left her with a sick child in bed,
“Be not dismayed whate’er betide, God will take care of you.” I sang.
As her children grew, she worked all on her own to create for them a happy home.
“There is a place of quiet rest near to the heart of God.” I sang.
When older, memories brought her tears of those long gone we held so dear.
“In the sweet by and by, we shall meet on that beautiful shore.” I sang.
Then today, I walked into a room so hushed, so still, so filled with gloom.
I walked quietly, as if on air, and brushed my fingers through sweet Margaret’s hair.
I kissed her cheek, took her hands, then closed my eyes and made my stand.
“Come, oh come, sweet angel band, come and around me stand.
Bear me away on your snowy wings to my eternal home.” I sang.
Margaret took a breath, squeezed my hand, then flew away with the angel band.
Lea Gillespie Gant is a children’s book author for Thomas Nelson Publishing in Nashville, having written the picture book Never Say Goodbye. Gant was published in Chicken Soup for the Soul’s 2020 Christmas Edition, Country Woman magazine and Kindred Spirits magazine, a tribute publication to the works of Lucy Maud Montgomery.