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Heaven Touching Earth

alec vanderboom

I wrote about the pain of losing my maternal grandfather, George Gableman, the last solid Christian in my family tree here. At his funeral service, I laid my head down on his casket and said "My friend, you have gone and left me here all alone."

I wanted to share with you the Joy that comes after the tears that I shed during the night.

From 2010-10-09

If you click on the picture located above, you can hear 30 seconds of Heaven touching Earth.

My maternal grandfather, George Gableman, spent almost 50 years wearing a red robe for this choir, the Fairlington United Methodist Church in Alexandria, Virginia (a suburb of Washington D.C.) After his death, my Mom told the choir director that she'd like to donate a new piece of music to the choir in honor of my grandfather.

Everyone expected the choir director to chose something typical like "Go Tell It On the Mountain."

Instead . . .

the choir director chose Schubert's Mass in G which she preformed with 90 voices and a four piece orchastra, all fellow members of the congregation to play on All Saint's Day Vigil.

I heard about the selection and started dancing around for pure joy in my bedroom.
The choir director chose Catholic Schubert, the composure who adored the Blessed Mother, and made sure that selections of the MASS got played in my grandfather's Protestant Church in honor of his memory. "The Catholic Mass" is never played in a United Methodist Church, and I took this selection of music to be a special gift of my grandpa to me.

The music was unbelievably beautiful. I drank it all in. My grandfather was an ordinary guy, who worked a boring government job. The only remarkable thing in his life was his great love for my grandmother and his fidelity to his little Methodist Church. My grandfather made sure that I was baptized during my parent's rebellion from the church. (He was responsible for baptizing a Secular Carmelite!) Last Sunday, it felt like God was sending down angels to dance in celebration of the extraordinary grace that comes from a hidden, humble life spent in dedication to the Sacrament of Marriage.

(Another funny side note: The church bulletin printed out the Latin words of the Mass (The Kyrie, the Agnus Dei etc.) along with their English translation. I sat next to my father during the church service. I had the joy of having my Dad poke me in the ribs saying "Did you see that "Lord Have Mercy On Me"? That line of text is so deep, isn't it?" I kept trying to keep a straight face and so "Oh yes, very deep" without rolling my eyes and saying "Dad, I'm a Catholic. I know the English translation to the Kyrie because I sing it every single Sunday." Each time my Dad poked me with excitement, I kept praying 'God make him a Catholic! He's so close right now!")