A firefly in my jar.

4 04 2006

I was sorting some papers and found a few notes I’d jotted when I attended the Friends of Hope camp for brain injury survivors with Jacob last fall. I’m writing this here so I won’t forget it. It’s a spark of joy. A tiny firefly in my memory jar.

Toward the end of the day a young Chinese man named Steven So performed on a Chinese guitar or “erhu,” a word meaning “two strings.” It was an odd looking instrument comprised of a small, six-sided box on one end, and a long neck with–you guessed it–two strings. He played it using a bow made of horse hair. (To see a picture of an erhu, click here.) You wouldn’t think it could produce much sound, but Steven’s bow somehow made the two strings sound like ten. It reminded me of the lovely, mournful music in soundtracks for movies like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. I listened mesmerized, unable to imagine how he coaxed such spellbinding sounds from such a simple instrument. After he’d played a few songs, he said he wanted to play one more–a song he’d written. But before he played it, he wanted to tell a story.

Earlier that day the campers and their volunteer helpers had marched around the room while a band played lively music. Steven had walked beside Jacob as his buddy during this parade. I’d watched from the sidelines, amused as I often am by Jacob’s uninhibited joy, made all the more endearing in this case by his attempts to walk while playing a small percussion instrument someone had placed in his hands. I hadn’t thought much about what it might mean to Steven. Until I heard his story.

He told the audience he’d written the song several years ago, but had never been able to come up with the right name for it. “Today,” he announced with a broad smile, “the name came to me as I marched around the room with Jacob.”

I glanced at Jacob. He was listening intently.

Steven bowed slightly toward Jacob and said, “I want to thank Jacob for helping me find the right name for my song. I’m calling it Walk With Me, Stay With Me, and God Will See You Through This.

Jacob whispered, “Yes.”

I choked back tears as heart-breaking music filled the hushed room. Steven closed his eyes and played a melody that rose from somewhere deep inside him–a prayer he’d been praying through music. A prayer that now had a name.

I have a whole jar full of fireflies like this one. Little by little they lighten the darkness. Little by little they help me see.



13 responses

4 04 2006

You and your words are a firefly in my jar. I love reading of your life, of Jacob.

I’ve missed you.


5 04 2006


This is beautiful, my friend.

Made me cry.


5 04 2006

Me too. I am presently wiping away tears from eyes that have read of God’s wisdom. FH

8 04 2006

good story

i love the “fireflies in the jar” metaphor…and the story.

8 04 2006

Re: good story

-Dr. Clockwork

11 04 2006

Jeanne, you have the gift of writing so that we can see with our hearts. I’m planning to share this story with my Bible Study group on Thursday. I love you, my seester! Lois

13 04 2006

Thank you. Being missed by you is an honor.

Love, EZ

13 04 2006

To my man of many initials: Thanks for all you do for Jacob and this family. I know his joy is rooted in your patient, gentle service.

I love you.

13 04 2006

Re: good story

Thanks, Blake. I’m glad you enjoyed it. Your writing is becoming quite lyrical, by the way. You have a knack. I look forward to seeing what you do with it.

13 04 2006

Thanks so much, oh my seester. I hope your group enjoys it.

I love you, too. ♥ J.

13 04 2006

Re: wow

Thanks, Mary of France. Making you cry is almost as nice as making you laugh.

Missed you much at MH, but I’ll see you this summer in Dallas and at ACFW.

Love, J.

13 04 2006

thank you

I’ve been commenting and contributing with the f*i*f folks for a couple of months now, but have been reading your thoughts at MA since this fall.

Don’t have anything profound to say, but that I’m glad to have discovered your beautiful mind. Our family has fought the good fight against austism for 2.5 years now, so your stories and your spirit encourages me in a special way. Thanks for sharing Jacob’s journey with us. I look forward to reading Parting the Waters!

again, thank you.
shanna philipson

13 04 2006

Re: thank you

Shanna, you are so welcome. Thanks for introducing yourself. I’m pleased to meet you!

It hasn’t been an easy road with Jacob, but we have much to be thankful for. We’re approaching ten years since his accident, and time lends perspective–especially as we’ve seen the beautiful ways his life has touched so many others.

Your comment adds another firefly to my jar. Thank you.

See you around the bloggerhood. 🙂


Your comments are a gift. Please know I read each one with gratitude.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: