Choose the Second note
A Thanksgiving Story
From 2006 to 2017 my husband and I made many trips across western Canada, visiting churches and Bible Colleges to recruit new workers and prayer partners for our organization. I loved the work and meeting so many wonderful people but I hated driving on snowy or icy roads. From September to April many got to hear about my feelings on winter driving. The fear was like a dragon, ever ready to emerge from its lair and unleash its fire on me.
One night I had a vivid dream in which my husband and I were part of a group staying at a retreat center, in warm weather, of course. We were a happy bunch, enjoying our activities and each other’s company. We felt bathed in harmony.
One day Mr. P., the president of Russia, and his wife moved into our group and took over; unannounced, uninvited, and unwanted. Harsh rules sprang up like weeds. Cold winds of mistrust darted about.
Somehow this change did not surprise me. I had just seen a documentary about Mr. P. and his methods of governing. The world situation and the attacks of terrorist groups like ISIS, Boko Haram, and especially the attack on a French satirical magazine in Paris in January, 2015, were frightening. I was well aware of the likelihood that some day my husband and I could become targets of hatred just because we are Christians.
In my dream it was clear that no one liked the restrictions Mr. P. instituted. Most submitted out of fear. Everything within me wanted to rebel but I tried to hide it. It would be dangerous if others became suspicious. There was a lot of singing of patriotic songs about the glories of communism. Lies! My parents and my husband’s family knew communism firsthand and had fled to Canada years ago.
As we sang, my eyes were drawn to Mr. P.’s wife. I saw that there were always two notes that came out of her mouth. (Dreams can be fanciful, can’t they?) The upper note matched what everyone else was singing and seemed to roll off the top of her tongue, floating into the air to join the chorus. But there was always a second note, different from the first, which rolled out of her mouth from underneath her tongue, heading off on a different mission. Her eyes turned in my direction. She leaned close and in a quiet, calm voice said, “Remember, you can always choose the second note.”
|“Gratitude washed over me. The threat was only a dream.
God’s truth to me was life-giving reality.”
Startled, I woke up. Instantly, unmistakably, I knew it was a message from God. The second note was the note that gives thanks to God. No matter what happens, what the driving conditions, I could always choose to give God thanks and praise. Nothing and no one can stop me. It was, is, and always will be purely my choice and mine alone.
Gratitude washed over me. The threat was only a dream. God’s truth to me was life-giving reality.
The alarm rang. Snow flakes danced outside our window. Our schedule was fixed, suitcases stood ready to load into the car. I reluctantly peeled myself out of the layers of warm blankets. The roaring dragon of fear rose up breathing fire. But God had given me a weapon. I would need to start practicing the art of choosing the second note.
Slaying dragons and choosing the second note is proving to be a life-long exercise for me. I don’t know what your dragons are but God’s weapon of giving thanks is there for you as well.
Go to Laura Story for Laura Story’s song Blessings for another perspective on choosing the second note.