Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Rest and Perspective.

It seems as if I should have something to say... but right now, I can't think of a thing...

It seems God and I have been traveling a million miles per hour lately, and the past few days, we've just been standing still. I'm sure there is a reason - and honestly, I'm a little glad.

It has been somewhat exhausting, the work we have been doing. Partly, it's the healing work itself, and partly it's me, finding myself lost in a sermon podcast, or investigating the meaning of "obedience". I've needed a little time to rest - and to catch up on day to day obligations.

It has been interesting, too.... to go through my day to day routine with a little different perspective. One day, as I headed out the door, I asked Him to show me how I could be a little more of service to the people I came in contact with that day. I found myself a little more patient on the road, and little more willing to stand and wait for the next person to walk through the store door. I made a little more eye contact, and exchanged smiles with them.

I wonder how it would be if those days became my norm... rather than the self-focused, hurry, hurry, hurry my days often become...

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Starry, Starry Night

Just a quick post to express some gratitude for this cool, clear night.

I'm sitting on my deck by the light of a citronella candle and my computer screen. Beside me, Jake-the-dog gnaws crazily on an antler (yes, an antler.... long story :) ).

The crickets are filling the night with song, and the breeze gently reminding me that Autumn will soon be arriving.... The stars are shining brightly over head. I know that He knows them all by name...

And me too...

It is perfect, and exactly what I needed this evening.

Thank You, thank You, thank You, God...

Friday, August 26, 2011

Repentence and Firey Darts

I sat in my car, thinking as I drove from one place to another - through the years, different cross roads, where I have made choices... for better or for worse.

The one I settled on reminded me of a verse I heard on Sunday. It appears in the midst of God calling his "faithless children" to return to Him.

Jeremiah 3:13
13 Only acknowledge your guilt,
that you rebelled against the LORD your God
and scattered your favors among foreigners under every green tree,
and that you have not obeyed my voice,
declares the LORD.

And, as I think back to the situation - it was more than simply a "bad choice". It was a "bad choice" followed by several other bad choices... all of which have had, and continue to have consequences... Rebellion tends to do that....

I hear myself say, "God, that was wrong...", and feel the brokenness deep in my core. I know it has already been forgiven.....I know it has, He has already shown me that, again and again.

But then I feel the sting. The nagging questioning, "How can you walk through this? You don't know how to do this! How do you think you will get your children to choose differently? It's never going to be any different...."

It disheartened me for a while, as I drove, thinking about the whole of it. And then, I realized how the tone had changed. I'd gone from feeling broken, but forgiven to paralyzed into inaction, and doubting my future. I wondered how many years I had believed these lies... I wondered how many times, I'd been hit by the firey darts of the deceiver, and believed him over what God had told me time and time again.

Didn't matter really. What mattered is that I didn't today:

I can walk through this because "I can do all things through Him who gives me strength"!
I may not know how to do this, but He does, and if I keep tight with Him and go where He goes, we'll be just fine!
And how can you say "it is never going to be any different..."? It already *IS* different!

About that time, I'd parked and picked up my phone to head into the bank. I flipped to the email that had arrived as I had been driving and thinking. It ended with this: "Walk in the Holy Confidence from the Lord today".

I laughed and cried and shook my head in amazement. How perfectly timed. Thank You, God!

I'm sure it is not the last time round this particular mountain, nor the last time I will feel the sting of the firey darts..... but to know that they can be at least temporarily silenced - such a gift!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Incessant Chattering

The past few mornings, my daughter has awakened in a talkative mood... to say the least. Me, I prefer to ease into the morning. So, these past few mornings have been a challenge for me as a Mom.

This morning, her focus was on painting her room - colors, shapes, patterns, she knew it all and wanted to tell me it all. Right. Then.

And she did.

In my mind, the chorus of Mosaic's song, "Teach us to love...." is playing, as well as the words "Let her talk...." I know that one day she may need to talk, and if I have routinely "Shhh" 'd her, she may not. (Oh, and I figured I'd let her creative dream unfold as well!)

Still, it was not an easy morning for me.... and probably only by the Grace of God, did I not raise my voice. Driving to school, while she is chattering on, I decide I really need to get to bed a bit earlier, so I can wake up a bit earlier, and HAVE my quiet time and be fully engaged and able to hear her. (Easier said than done)

I didn't think much more of it until I was heading to bed. I had nothing to blog, so I closed my laptop, and got down on my knees to pray.

Having just listened to a sermon discussing the need to "be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger" (James 1:19), I decided to take that approach. I simply knelt there. After a little while, I thought, "I got nothin'.... that I haven't already prayed for a million times...."

I paused, not breathing.

"Oh, God! Please tell me I haven't been incessantly chattering to You, too?"

Help me to listen. Help me to hear. Help me to follow.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


I am feeling very, very blessed.

School has started, and we've adapted to the new routine - homework and all.

Life is still busy, juggling personal and professional commitments, and of course all the ins and outs of being "Mom". But, life is different recently. It feels more "open". There is much hope. And where hope exists, it seems anything is possible!

I wondered if it was simply the structured schedule, but I don't think so. I think it has to do more with the fact I have been immersing myself in the Word, lately - actually taking time to sit and "be" with God, rather than having the Book laying beside my pillow, and waving to Him as I ran past.

It has been sweet, sweet time. It hasn't always been easy, or comfortable, but it has been consistent! (and encouraging!)

I am grateful to those who continually point me to Him, and the Bible. It has been fascinating to witness conversations, emails, texts, blogs, from different sources, supporting and confirming the others. It is mind-boggling if I try to think of it, really. I can't even imagine...

So, I just delight in it and laugh when it occurs.... over and over again.

I pray that I continue to make time focused on delving into the depths of the Bible, and sitting quietly with Him a priority! It must be.... may I remember!
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Monday, August 22, 2011

A Sweet Summarization

I hesitate to write this, on one hand, because I know that mere words will not be able to capture the depth of emotion that accompanied this morning's worship with my friends of Mosaic.

I must admit, it started long before I arrived at church. Before dawn, a storm moved through, waking me with it's intensity. Awakened, I checked my "daily verse" app on my phone:

"Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path" ~Psalm 119:105

I thought of how true that had been for me - ESPECIALLY this past week. The scripture that had been sent to me - in texts, in emails, and on my daily verse app - and those that I had dug for myself, had truly lit my path this week.

I rolled over until my alarm started sounding to a local christian music station. Occasionally, I'd listen a little before I hit the "snooze". One moment I remembered - "... the Sunday praise word for today is "hope" ." I laughed. Of course it is!

I headed to church, and as Mosaic set up and sound-checked, I flipped through my bible, recalling the adventures we'd been on together this week: Struggles and thoughts on surrender, and moments sitting on a footbridge, resetting my internal compass. Daring to dream of opportunities to sit at His feet and take it all in - and experiencing a few moments that felt as I imagine it would to truly live a John 12:3 moment as Mary did with Jesus, himself.

It was in that frame of mind that we started the service. As they sang, and spoke, and told stories of the verses of scripture that inspired their music, I was amazed. In my bible, I flipped from verse to verse, aware of the parallels between what I had been shown throughout the week, to what I was hearing now. Some were identical, some were expository.

Most of the service, I felt as if He and I were sitting side by side, recapping our most recent journey - laughing together and crying together. There were moments of conviction, but mostly sweet, sweet peace.

"Return to Me..." He spoke - and they sang. For "my people are bent on turning away from me"... "Return o faithless children....." I will contend until you are free...

My people are bent on turning away from me ~ Hosea 11:7

Jeremiah 3:12-14; 22

‘Return, faithless Israel,
declares the Lord.
I will not look on you in anger,
for I am merciful,
declares the Lord;
I will not be angry forever.
13 Only acknowledge your guilt,
that you rebelled against the Lord your God
and scattered your favors among foreigners under every green tree,
and that you have not obeyed my voice,
declares the Lord.
14 Return, O faithless children,
declares the Lord;
for I am your master;
I will take you, one from a city and two from a family,
and I will bring you to Zion.

22 “Return, O faithless sons;
I will heal your faithlessness.”

Sunday, August 21, 2011

A Shift in the Point of Reference

I sat talking with a friend this evening. It has been a while since we have been able to sit together, share a meal, and our thoughts. We were introduced many years ago. We have laughed together, and cried together, and have walked together through each of our divorces.

Tonight, we took some time to catch up on the goings on since our last gathering. I shared with her some of the goings on in my life - and she shared some adventures in hers. And as we were talking, a sentence came out of my mouth that I have struggled to articulate for a while.

"I don't want my divorce to be the point of reference for my life."

I had become aware, again in the past few months, that it seemed to be where my story always started...

And, while it is true that God showed up mightily in my life at that moment of my need, it's not where it began. Nor is it where God and I began.

My adventures on the bridge yesterday had reminded me of that. Long before that moment, God had been with me, inviting me and calling me into relationship with Him. He had surrounded me with His people and with Truth.

I tried to think back as far as I could remember him "stalking" me. I remember the longing and the crying out of my heart on my rock at camp as a young adult. And clearly, a song had stuck from my childhood. But I couldn't really tell you when our relationship began.

So, I asked aloud, on my drive home.... "How long has it been?"

"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you..." (Jeremiah 1:5)

I smiled and nodded.

Perhaps, I need to shift the point of reference for my life.

My relationship with God didn't begin with the end of my marriage, it began long before I even existed in this world. It began when He first knew me and set me apart for a purpose here on this earth.

And that little shift of perspective....

kinda changes everything.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

All the Pieces of My Heart...

I rolled out of bed, wiped the tears of hope from my eyes, and started my morning. Dropping my kids at school, I headed to my Moms in Touch group. We prayed for our children, teachers, students, administrators and county politics. We raised our requests - those known and those unknown - to God for His consideration. My unspoken request, I raised as well - that He would meet me there.

A few hours of seeing patients, and then I was off. Back to the place where He had so faithfully met me in years past. To the trestle bridge over the water, near the house where I used to live.

I hummed a tune that was stuck in my head. An old hymn from my childhood. I couldn't remember the words, just the melody. My car parked across the street, I walked the trail that I knew so well.

Day after day, I'd walk... in the days when my land neighbored the path. Day after day, He'd meet me there, wiping the hair out of my face as I stepped onto the wooden footbridge that lay over the old railroad trestle.

I had a praying spot. So I went there, took of my shoes and sat down.

Quietly, I sat, the breeze on my face, taking in the sights and the sounds. A ripple of a fish under the surface of the water, the zip of a hummingbird flying by. I'd seen a deer drinking from a pool in the woods on my way, and I stared, now, out at the heron on the far shore.

I thanked Him for coming, and sat quietly for a long, long time.

Finally, I spoke.


"So.... You want my heart.... all of it.... You know it's been pretty trampled, right? And, cast aside..."

I thought again of the Apostle Paul, "Chief of all sinners", and how his life had changed... dramatically.

I wondered how my heart could be useful to Him... well, parts of it, sure... but ALL of it?

I sat there some more with the wind blowing my now tear-stained cheeks. I closed my eyes, and let my thoughts wander...

I envisioned Him taking the pieces of my heart, and knowing each one, gently making it new. I knew it wasn't beyond Him - and that He could simply take it, fix it if He wanted. But my offering it up - every single piece - is what He really wanted.

I realized that without "every single piece", it would never be "whole". Perhaps, better stated, without "every single piece" IN HIS HANDS... (and, thus, out of MINE...)

"You really, really want it, huh?"

The wind picked up.

"I don't know how to do that..... I need you to show me how to do that.... please."

I sat until the tears had stopped and the sun was warm on my back. I placed the ear buds in my ears and set the iPod to play. I let the music speak to me.... first about healing hearts (no joke), and then "The Stand".

As it played, I walked - and signed the words as they played...

First He created... and then He saved.

"so, what could I say? What could I do? But offer this heart, oh God, completely to You...."

I have no illusions that it will be "that easy". I expect that it will be a daily surrender - to say "... I'll stand - with arms high and heart abandoned...."

and then... to DO it.

My prayer tonight is that this day stays etched in my mind - and on my heart - for a long, long, LONG time....

Friday, August 19, 2011

Surrender...and hope.

I tried to start this post on surrender last night, but it just wouldn't come to me. I was struggling with the concept. Struggling with the fact that, as I have been re-reading some of my blog posts through recent years, it keeps coming up. "I need to surrender." , "I need to fully trust.", "I need to let go." Yet, still I struggle.

I'd read some on it, and asked for others' thoughts on it - and on WHY it is so difficult. Cognitively, I can list out all the reasons why I should, and why it's really the only "appropriate" response - knowing what I know and believing what I believe about God truly being who He says he is, and knowing and believing what He has done throughout history, on the cross, and in my life, personally.

Looking back a little farther than the past few years, I can see the changes that He has made in my life. Nothing short of miraculous, some of them. And yet, I struggle...

I awakened to find an emailed response to my question. The sun wasn't quite up, and it was still and quiet, so after I read it, I lay quiet and still. I was aware of a song gently playing in the back of my mind, and closed my eyes to be with it... and with Him. I kept coming back to something I'd read - at least twice in the past 24 hours.... about Paul. My friend had referenced scripture, and my thoughts kept returning there.

Opening my eyes, I reached for my bible and opened to Romans 7:15, and started reading... and re-reading. Clear through to the end of the next chapter. Paul had started talking about not understanding why he was doing the things he did not want to do, and could not do the things he wanted to do.

As I am reading, I am amazed at the words, phrases and concepts that are there on the page. So many tie in with much of what I have been hearing, reading, praying and studying over the past few weeks. I find myself nodding, smiling and wiping tears. Especially once I hit the end of chapter 8.

"For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers. Nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Jesus Christ, our Lord"

Now, if I'm not mistaken, much of that list is similar to the verse in Ephesians talking about spiritual warfare.

and THAT...! That gives me hope.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Preparing to Retreat

I know that it is still six weeks away, but it was over six weeks ago that I was so powerfully convicted of the need to retreat with Him. There I lay, sobbing in my bed, after a brief conversation with near-stranger.

"Forgive me..." I said.

"Come spend some time with me..." He said.

I nodded and opened the calendar app on my phone. I picked a weekend and wrote it in. The next week was spent finding a location. From there it has been waiting, wondering and a bit of instruction from time to time. "Don't forget to bring....", "Be sure to...."

I recall some of the powerful experiences I have had previously, when He called me to retreat with Him. Each time, He has met me, and prepared me, and "grown" me. Healing. Freedom. Clarity.

I wonder, sometimes, as I think of this weekend we have planned, what He will focus on. I think of what He has been teaching me and showing me lately, and I am a little afraid, honestly... But, I remember where we have been together, He and I, so I shift my focus from the agenda to the preparations.

"I will bring....". "I will be sure to..."

And then I pray: Prepare my heart. Meet me there. Help me be open and yielding to Your vision and Your plan.

Monday, August 15, 2011

A Little Caution About "That Place...."

Please know that I write this very tongue-in-cheek, but seriously.... wow.

I need to remember to be cautious when going to "that place beyond the noise...". I also need to remember that when I do so at night - and end my day with a quiet, reflective prayer that pretty much says, "God.... whatever you need to do... You've got my heart, it's Yours..." - I may not sleep as well as I may have hoped.

I may just find that He speaks to me in my dreams - which wakes me up.

I may just find that I continue to long for the song to play again and again as I drive between visiting patients.

I may ALSO find that when I get back in my car, and press "play" on my iPod, that the song may start in such a place and He may say, "See THIS verse? THIS is the line I really want you to hear..." He may also remind me that there is still a "point of [my] breaking" that has yet to occur. And in the darkness that remains behind that wall of my heart, He can still see.

He is still shining the light to help me find all the dreams I left behind. And while that sounds exciting on one hand - on the other, I'm pretty comfortable in the "darkness" that is my own stubborn self-sufficiency.

I may then find myself in search of a tissue to wipe my eyes so I can see the road clearly, and make it appear to the next patient that I haven't been touched by a song to the point of tears.

I know it is all good - He has shown me a couple of those dreams I left behind. Just, getting there.... it's going to be a process that will require trust, faith and action.

"Lead on, Lord," I say, as I press "play" again.... perhaps He will let me hear, see and feel some more.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Place Behind the Noise

It has been a delightful day. The music at church was some of my favorite, and I very much felt His presence as lyrics came off my hands. During rehearsal, He showed me a deeper meaning in one of the phrases that I had previously struggled with, which made it so much clearer in my mind and in my heart.

Sermons, daily devotions, and text messages all connected, leaving my heart feeling very "held". It's a sweet feeling when He holds my heart, and there aren't words to adequately describe it.

My response is to become very still. To take some time to wrap in a blanket and sit on the couch, and just "be". It's the same feeling that causes me to sit beneath trees, and sing beside rapidly flowing waterways. It's the feeling that encourages me to retreat with Him.

Still there were things to do - laundry and general tidying. So I'd do some and sit some more. I put on some music, and found a song that captured the mood. And though I don't feel like my world is "dark" right now, nor do I feel like I'm at "the point of [my] breaking", I do feel like I am finding the place "behind all the noise"....

It's a sweet place. And since it is a cool evening - with a gentle breeze -I plan to wrap up in a blanket, sit on my deck and let Him hold my heart some more... The crickets, frogs - and maybe even the Newsboys - will continue to sing gently over me.

I'll Be ~ The Newsboys


You will find me. I'm at the point of your breaking, behind all the noise.
When your world is darkest, I can still see.
'cause when there's nothing left, I'll be.....

Friday, August 12, 2011

God's Gifts, Wrapped in People

It was a sweet reminder for me as I drove up the country highway: "God"s gifts come wrapped in people". Immediately, faces came to mind, and I retraced their footprints on my heart.

I have been given some wonderful gifts in the men and women who have crossed my path.

And then I paused for a moment. I realized there was more to this than I had initially appreciated.

I had been thinking only of the people I had grown to love. I had totally forgotten the OTHER gifts, wrapped in the OTHER people.

I had forgotten of the impatient woman pacing in the grocery line, or the man speeding past me on the highway. Then, there was the woman so stuck in "victim" that it made my skin crawl.

These other people are also gifts - they show me who I am, who I have been, and who I could be again, if I forget who I am in Him.

Oh, and that woman in "victim" turned out to be the greatest gift - it was such an honor to witness her growth firsthand... and she challenged me to step out of "victim" as well....
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Thursday, August 11, 2011

This is The Lord's Doing....

This Is the Lord's Doing (Psalm 118) by Mosaic Worship

I grabbed my iPod Shuffle and clipped it onto my belt loop as I headed out to mow the grass. One of the thing I love about using my shuffle is that I have it filled with worship music, that I allow to play randomly. Sometimes I find that I listen to song after song, and sometimes, one will stick and I will play it over and over and let it speak to me.

Today, it was the latter. The first song to play was This is The Lord's Doing by my friends of Mosaic. Over and over it spoke to me "This is the Lord's doing, it is marvelous in our eyes. ...Let us rejoice and be glad in it...."

I began to think of all of the "Lord's doings" in my life. He has introduced me to people who have stood beside me, walked with me and challenged me in my thinking and in my growth. He has awakened me in the night to pray or call me forth. The yard and house that sits on it was His doing as well. I smiled as I remembered that story, and the many others that demonstrate His active presence in my life.

I don't always understand what He is doing - and almost never in "real time". Retrospectively, He often shows me the anxiety, pain and concern I could have avoided if I had simply trusted and walked along in His plan for me.

There are sometimes when I am very clear that something is "the Lord's doing" and opt to "rejoice and be glad in it" (and pray hard that I don't stumble along too badly, or stray too far off course)- even when I have no idea where He is leading. Or, perhaps, better and more honestly stated, I don't have His moment by moment itinerary laid out before me. I may have a sense of the general direction we're headed, but I tend to be very "detail oriented" (read: controlling and (ouch) untrusting) by nature. I want to KNOW... Is it safe? Will I get hurt? What are my other options...?

That is where faith comes in. And where I realize it is a choice. "Let us rejoice and be glad in it". I decide to. I choose to. I will.

This IS the Lord's doing. I WILL rejoice and be glad in it!

Where ever He takes this.

Thank you, Mosaic, for this wonderful reminder!

Psalm 118: 23-24
23This is the Lord's doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.
24 This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Gratitude and Remembrance

I have a friend who used to call me her "Gratitude Girl". Apparently, that was the lesson I was teaching her at the time.

It was a lesson that was taught to me by someone I am - no surprise - very grateful to have known!

She crossed my path quite unexpectedly. Or perhaps, I crossed hers. It WAS her listserv I joined....

We had quite a few adventures into my hurts and grievances, and slowly, but surely, she helped my perspective shift. It wasn't always easy.

At first, she had to ask me, "What are you grateful for today?" To which, I'd reply, "Not a thing." "Find five..."

Since I wanted what she had (peace, joy, hope, love) and was willing to go to any lengths to get it, I would find five....somehow. (Sometimes it was a stretch i.e. "#5 - I am grateful this is the last thing I have to write.")

When that became easier, she'd say, "Find ten". I'd roll my eyes, and start writing. Soon, I found myself writing the list before I sent her my email of complaints, because I knew that was what she was going to tell me to d0. Ultimately, I had book I would write them in, every night. My Gratitude Journal: "Ten things I am grateful for today."

And then, I started to notice it spontaneously. Gratitude. Here and There. Suddenly appearing in my life, without me having to search for it. I even found it in the difficult things - for I learned that there were always gifts in the pain. She promised me there would be. And she was right. There always have been - perhaps not immediately, but they do arrive...eventually.

Next week would be her 68th birthday. I sometimes forget that it's been so long since we've shared an email - just over eight years. I miss that. There have been so many things through the years - and now even! - that I would love to be able to run past her for a reality check. She just had a way with speaking truth into the midst of the chaos of my mind.

You are dearly missed, Karen, but I am ever grateful for the impact you have made on my heart, my perspective, and on my life. I am trusting you are right again - there will be a gift in this pain as well.

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Friday, August 5, 2011

Comparing Economies...

I received some disappointing news on my way out the door to meet some work colleagues. I was grateful to have the drive to gain some perspective .... and pray. My experience, thus far, has been that God is forever faithful and I do trust that He will continue to be.... even in this.

As I was driving, He was reminding me of the different economies at play, and questioning exactly where my feet were standing. Was I grounded in the world's economy, where "stuff" is valued (lots and lots of "stuff"), or was I planted in His economy, which values relationship, service and love?

It took the entire ride to sort it through. I remembered back to when my children were born - before they were, actually, if we're being completely honest! I knew without a doubt that my purpose here on earth is to be their mother - first and foremost. That hasn't changed. I had simply forgotten to look through His eyes at the situation.

Does it make a difference? Through His eyes, no it doesn't.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

"Don't Run Away" ... or The Puzzle That is My Life

I was enjoying being back in my MMA class this morning, when I began to notice the lyrics of a new song playing behind our kicks and punches. I wasn't able to get much of a handle on the exact words, or the artist, but it called to me, so I listened more attentively.

"Don't run away..." again and again and again. "Don't run away...." (OK, God, I got that. "Don't run away...") And still it continued, "Don't run away..."


How perfectly it ties in with the other things I have been hearing (again and again) lately (and again today!)


"...and having done all, to stand firm..."

Sometimes, it feels like I'm trying to put together the jigsaw puzzle that is my life, and God keeps giving me this piece and this piece and this piece. Often, He seems to give me pieces that are themed together - blue sky pieces, or cloud pieces, or landscape pieces. Perhaps, He has already given me the edge pieces, and thus established the boundaries within which we will work.

I know the "Thou shalt not"s, and many of the promises that He has spoken for my life. But, the details that fall between the edges are still unclear to me.

I'm not saying that is a bad thing - it's not. I rather enjoy not knowing *exactly* where we are headed and the "picture" that we are creating. I will admit, though, there are times that I would like to know how many thousands of pieces this puzzle contains.

But, I digress... and I wonder. This theme of "Standing" and not running away... It makes me wonder if I AM currently "running away" or am I "standing". I wonder it's a call to my back, or if it's a sort of preparation: "Stand right there, and don't run away when I show you this....."

I suppose time will tell.

And, maybe, I'll be fortunate to hear that song again...