Just exactly where are we now? We are in New York City after Laurent was able to sing the solo in the beautiful Nigerian choral piece, Betelehemu with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir last night in Carnegie Hall! If someone had told us twenty years ago that Laurent would be performing in Carnegie Hall, we wouldn’t have believed it. Actually, a few years before the accident we just might have. Back then Laurent was singing with a small professional choir called “Gloriana” in Salt Lake City and it had put them in the path of several opportunities such as playing a small town church choir on the hit show “Touched by an Angel”. The director had connections and it would have been plausible that he could have made something happen in regards to Carnegie Hall.
But if someone had told me about Carnegie Hall while sitting somberly in the neuro-intensive care unit in the days following that terrible accident as he lay bruised, swollen, and unconscious with a myriad of machines sustaining his very life and breathing, I’m sure I would not have been able to imagine it at all. When Laurent did wake from his coma and the extent of his speech and cognitive disabilities became apparent, I probably would have doubted even more the possibility of such a dream coming to fruition. In August of 1998 when we saw him take his first steps down the hall of the rehabilitation center, I never would have guessed that so many years later he would be walking on stage. When he was finally weaned off the ventilator and could now breathe on his own, I could not have imagined that those breaths could be carefully controlled and used to sustain his rich and resonating tone in blending with an amazing three hundred voice choir to sing the classical choral pieces of the masters in that hall. As we worked with his memory to be able to recall simple instructions just minutes later or to practice diligently and work on just one song for two months to be able to learn that new piece to be able to perform it, I would have thought it impossible for Laurent to be able to handle the incredibly demanding memorization and performance schedule necessary for the weekly broadcasts and frequent concerts of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. I simply would most likely have thought, “It couldn’t be done”.
Yet here we are in New York City and Laurent indeed did do it. He sang in Carnegie Hall last night. What an incredible experience that was! Tears of joy streamed down my face as I watched him from the audience. I marveled as I contemplated his seventeen year journey to this historic stage and meaningful moment. We are truly humbled and awed for this marvelous opportunity and wish to acknowledge that none of this would be possible without Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. They have truly been the authors of miracles for us in making this incredible dream a reality.
Not coincidentally, the lyrics Laurent sings in the solo for Betelehemu, when translated share this same message of gratitude.
"We are glad that we have a father to trust.
We are glad that we have a father to rely upon."
Aren’t those beautiful and appropriate lyrics for Laurent to be singing? He gets to declare in full voice to thousands of listeners how grateful we are to have a Supreme Being in whom we can trust and upon whom we can rely during our most difficult and arduous challenges in life! He not only sustains our life and breath, but provides the strength and ability to cope with life’s trials. Not only is He the source of all knowledge and truth, but He will also lovingly takes our hand and with wisdom and foresight, carefully lead us in the paths that will provide us the most good and joy in this life if we will but follow. When we are discouraged, lonely, disappointed, disheartened, or exhausted, we can turn to Him who descended below all things to lift us up, dry our tears, and once again set our feet on the path of peace and joy. In the words of the ancient prophets, we gratefully testify, “Behold, God is my Salvation; I will trust and not be afraid: for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song;” (Isaiah 12:2)