Lavena (Beanie) Peters was dying of liver cancer. I was at the hospital with her family, essentially on a deathwatch. Beanie’s pain was excruciating, and the pain medicine kept her in a nearly unconscious state. Others left the room for a moment; only Harriet her daughter and Ralph her husband were present with me. Suddenly Beanie opened her eyes. Looking at the ceiling, she said, “Sing.” I leaned over her bed and asked, “What did you say, Beanie?” “Sing.” “Do you want us to sing?” She nodded. “Do you want us to sing a hymn?” She nodded. So I started, and Ralph and Harriet joined in:
"I heard an old, old story about a Savior who came from glory;
How he gave his life on Calvary to save a wretch like me;
I heard about his groaning, of his precious blood’s atoning,
Then I repented of my sins and won the victory."
On the chorus, Beanie joined us:
"Oh victory in Jesus, my Savior forever!
He sought me and bought me with his redeeming blood;
He loved me ere I knew him and all my love is due him;
He plunged me to victory beneath the cleansing flood."
We started singing the last verse, and Beanie’s voice rang out:
"I heard about a mansion he has built for me in glory,
And I heard about the streets of gold beyond the crystal sea;
About the angels singing, and the old redemption story;
And some sweet day I’ll sing up there the song of victory."
Hours later, Beanie died. In the years since, both Punk and Harriet have gone home. I am the only person alive to share this story. Beanie taught me a life-changing lesson that day: Sing! Even in the face of death.
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