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After Hearing Loss, Music Teacher Chants the Psalms

A beautiful article in the Chicago Tribune told the story of a woman named Rachel Long who died in 2017 at the age of 97. Based on the information in the article it certainly sounds like Rachel was a follower of Christ who fell in love with God's Word, especially the Psalms.

For decades Rachel Long taught over 300 piano students as well as aspiring opera singers. One of her former students said, "She didn't have children of her own, but she had hundreds of children, including myself, who benefited from that unconditional acceptance and love."

But then in the early '90s she lost her ability to hear musical intonation. The sound of a recording, or of her fingers playing on a piano, had turned into a screech. The singing at church sounded like the grinding of a buzz saw. One of Long's closest friends said, "She was stricken by something that forced her to look for beauty in other places. Her world was reduced to her apartment, but every day … she would try to chant the Psalms."

And she wanted to share the richness of the Psalms with others. So for each of the 150 biblical psalms, she composed a short introduction. She had no computer but wrote on the closed piano cover, near her old records and turntable.

Two nights before Long had the stroke that took her life, a close friend talked to her on the phone. The friend said, "She told me she had a dream that she was in a glass sailboat, all dressed up and much younger. It was sailing toward a shore where there was a crowd of people and when the boat reached the shore, all the people were the people she had known, and they were all dressed up and throwing her a party."

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