The Things We Leave Behind The Daily Post at WordPress.
It hadn’t occurred to me where I might be going, I just knew I was to leave Jerusalem very soon. I also knew it would be a long time before I’d return. I sorted out some things to give away, and other stuff not worth keeping I simply tossed. I packed a box of things to send to my folks; they’d store them in their attic with other things I’d left there. I knew I needed to travel light. I had only one thing left, my autoharp.
Some years before I’d learned to play the autoharp while staying in Morro Bay, California. It was the only instrument that I did well at playing. As a child, my mother tried to teach me piano. She was a graduate of the London College of Music. She’d played at a Welsh National Music Festival, the Eisteddfod. I was born with music in my soul and poetry running through my veins. I was not a good music student, much to my mother’s disappointment. The trumpet and the clarinet were next, but never truly did I master them. Later I tried the guitar and the recorder. Neither seemed to suit me well. But the autoharp, that was me.
I enjoyed singing praise songs accompanied by the autoharp. I felt a bit like a modern King David, praising the Lord with his harp. One year I and my autoharp traveled from Greece to Wales on a series of buses and trains, with stops along the way. I spent a “pilgrimage” on Mt. Athos, where I sat near an old monetary playing that autoharp and singing praise songs to the Lord. Through Turkey and the old Yugoslavia, Italy and into to France, autoharp in hand, backpack slung on across my shoulders. Across the Channel and through England and finally to Wales.
When I went to Israel, my autoharp went with me. I fell in love with Israel, especially with Jerusalem. I loved the Hebrew folk music and psalms I learned. I loved the people with whom I worked, and to whom I ministered. But when it was time to leave, I knew it was time to leave behind my autoharp. It was time to say good bye. I played that autoharp near the Temple. It had to stay. How could I play it any where else? It felt like it was part of Jerusalem and must remain. So I donated it to a music academy.
I think about that old autoharp every once and a while. One day, Lord willing, I shall return to Jerusalem. The music academy said, when I left the autoharp there, that I could use it whenever I was back. That was over twenty-five years ago. Will it still be there where I left it behind?
Lord Bless, Keep, Shine upon you. . .
By the waters of Babylon,
there we sat down and wept,
when we remembered Zion.
On the willows there
we hung up our lyres.
For there our captors
required of us songs,
and our tormentors, mirth, saying,
“Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”
How shall we sing the LORD’S song
in a foreign land?
If I forget you, O Jerusalem,
let my right hand forget its skill!
Let my tongue stick to the roof of my mouth,
if I do not remember you,
if I do not set Jerusalem
above my highest joy!