Yesterday, a most unexpected thing happened to me–first gut-wrenching, then illuminating, in a span of merely 10-15 minutes.
My wife texted me a change of address for our kids piano performance. The address was 556 Vallombrosa Avenue.
“Just past the post office,” she texted.
“Easy enough,” I thought.
As I was driving by the post office, it slowly dawned on me where this performance was located. Suddenly, I was beginning to feel a pit in my stomach–I no longer needed the address number.
I remembered first driving up to this building over twenty years ago but under far different circumstances. I had been with approximately ten others to participate in a prayer vigil in front of this building, a building where abortions were being performed, Planned Parenthood. I had not been at this location since I left Chico for Steubenville in ’97. Fast-forward twenty-two years, and now my children were going inside this building. This made me uncomfortable.
I began to pray for insight into this unconventional matter. On one hand, I did not want to make “a mountain out of a molehill”, but on the other hand, this was a building where the holocaust of abortion was in full effect (my hometown of Chico, CA has one of the highest abortion rates, per capita, in the country).
So as my children and I were walking towards the door, the memories of prayer vigils were washing over me, and what was a pit in my stomach soon turned into full-on nausea. I continued to pray, and sensed God tugging on my heart as if to say, “pay close attention to what you will hear when you walk through these doors.” I walked through the door listening attentively, and what I heard were children learning how to sing and play various musical instruments. From Chopsticks on the piano to Amazing Grace on the violin, suddenly my heart was being moved.
The whole reality of what was before me was overwhelming: a location where Satan had nestled in so comfortably in our society, which had given impetus to a culture of death, has now become a place where children sing, giving impetus to new life. Saint Thomas once spoke of music as pleasure to the ear and a delight to the mind; something that awakens the soul. As I sat there playing with my children, I could not help but think: the specific location where thousands of children were slaughtered, is now the very location where children roam learning a language of the soul. Indeed, what I was hearing was pleasure to the ear and a delight to the mind (and heart). The great apostle Paul was right, “where sin arises, grace abounds all the more” (Rom 5:20).
Yesterday, a most unexpected thing happened, and as it did, God reminded me that He can bring life out of the darkest of places. What happened on the Cross, happened on Vallambrosa Ave, and I, for one, am eternally grateful! Our God is so good!