God’s big hands

422175_481118075239410_57455172_nWhen I was 10 years old, I met Harmony Culbreath. She brought nothing but sunshine to my life. My mentor defines elevator people as people who lift you up and basement people as people who drag you down; Harmony lifted me up. She was constantly smiling, cracking jokes, and singing with her deep, one-of-a-kind beautiful voice that gave me chills. I’d still rather listen to Harmony’s voice than to anyone else’s voice if I had to choose one person to listen to for the rest of my life.

I remember—and still laugh every time I think about it—a long minivan ride home from Little Rock. I am not sure what the trip entailed, but Harmony had ridden in our family van, along with me and my slew of sisters and parents. On the way home, in the back of the dark van, my sisters and I begged Harmony to sing popular rock songs and hymns to us over and over and over again and were mesmerized by her voice. My mom, on the other hand, eventually became annoyed at the junior high a capella karaoke and finally yelled at us and asked us to shut our traps and play the silent game. We were sorely disappointed. This put an end to Mariah Carey, Wilson Phillips, and the other tunes Harmony belted out for us in perfect pitch.

Harmony never seemed to display fear. If she felt afraid, she didn’t show it. Once, when we went ice skating—which she’d never done before in her life—she attempted a single axel. She actually made it halfway around before the toe of her skate dug into the ice, causing her to fall face forward into the ice. She scraped her face on the ice, creating a fairly nasty gash on her cheekbone. That didn’t deter her for long. She slapped a Band-Aid on the spot and kept on skating. Harmony had guts when it came to playing softball, too. She slid and pushed and shoved and was so aggressive that other girls were often so intimidated by her that she was virtually untouchable on the field.

I remember moments when Harmony shared deeply personal and intimate stories and memories with me regarding personal relationships, first dates, family secrets, and other internal struggles. Harmony was a genuine human being—she had the capacity to be honest and real. This is a trait that many people do not come by easily in today’s world. In some ways, this made her a more vulnerable person, but in other ways, it made her stronger.

1544453_10202971807282635_577239659_nObviously, Harmony was a renaissance woman. If she set her mind to do something, she did it. I think she must have applied this same fierce determination to her career, and it’s probably why she found success singing and performing for years while juggling her full-time job of raising four children. She didn’t half-ass anything in life, including being a mama. Harmony loved her babies, and she loved them well. Anyone who vaguely knew her, even online, could clearly see that Harmony’s focus was on ensuring that her four children knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that they were loved by her.

You can’t lose someone like Harmony and expect that life is just going to move on. Clichés like “God works everything out for the best” or “There’s a reason for everything” mean nothing right now. In fact, those phrases piss me off in situations like these.

10610566_10205781782930270_3974353586199131000_nAs someone who does believe in God—and I know Harmony shared this faith–I do attempt to work to accept reality and life on life’s terms. The reality is that Harmony is not coming back, and the reality is that her children are without their mother. I have found that what helps me in times like these is to stop focusing on the problem and to focus on the solution. Part of focusing on the solution is to focus on God’s goodness instead.

Okay—so where is God’s goodness in this situation? I asked myself this question the night that I got the news about Harmony’s death. Searching… searching…. Searching… I’ve got nothing.

Today, as I stood outside during my own daughter’s nap, I drank a cup of coffee while the wind whipped through my hair and dried the tears that flowed down my cheeks, the tears that have somewhat steadily flowed down my face like molasses since hearing this news. I began asking myself a myriad of rhetorical questions…. Where are her children? Who is caring for them? Are they crying right now and missing their mama? Who is going to comfort them? Who is rocking them now and singing those sweet songs to them that Harmony used to sing to them? Will they be in safe arms? Will they be fed plenty of food, and when they go to bed at night, will they be in a home that keeps them free from danger of every kind? Are they all together so they can retain some semblance of normalcy since their primary caregiver has been ripped from their lives? God, are you hearing these questions??? ARE YOU LISTENING TO ME RIGHT NOW?

And while those molasses-like tears began picking up their pace, I felt Him respond.

Don’t you think I’m capable of holding all four of them right now? Don’t you believe that I Am their Mother and their Father?


So one more time, I’ll choose to trust God. His hands are big enough to hold all four of those precious babies.

10 thoughts on “God’s big hands

  1. Anthony Rossetti says:

    I met her at a bar in Swansea a few months ago. She was a really a great singer and very interesting to speak with between sets. I would have never thought she had a worry in the world. Lived with a smile for sure.


  2. canislupis75 says:

    I met Harmony when I was 16 and going through the divorce of my parents. We met at the park in Sulphur Rock and became friends, meeting to play basketball on weekends for the next year or two. I always looked forward to seeing her as many things in my life at the time seemed topsy-turvy and she brought out a good side in me; something I could feel. Twenty years later I read she is gone and it’s as if I had just seen her recently. It’s her smile and exuberance that I remember and that is what I will always remember of her. Such a really good person.

    Brandon Wilson


  3. Tanya smith says:

    Harmony wasn’t not only my sister but my best friend. The day I got the call about her death my world had ended. I keep waiting for my phone to ring to hear her sweet voice saying to me . Hey sis how is your day going . So whatever was going on in my life good or bad she always made it better. When she was having a bad day I told her sis I love you and everything will work but no matter what was going on with her she always called me . At the end of the conversations we always told each other that we love each other. So when you call your loved one always make sure you ended it with telling each other that you will always love them because tomorrow may never come again . Harmony your my sister i will always love you ! I will carry you In my heart and mind forever ! I will never get over this . People tell me time will heal but not for heart it won’t .


  4. tina says:

    I took my first Zumba class from Harmony several years ago. What an impression she left on me. I enjoyed her voice, the songs and videos she recorded on her phone and put on fb. She was a very intense spirit filled talented woman mother and friend. I pray she has found her peace, sad to go on with out her beautiful voice.


  5. Planting Potatoes says:

    Sounds like Harmony was a beautiful person and very important to you! Of course you will miss her – as will many – no doubt – but when Jesus said we would be comforted when we mourn, I don’t think he meant that he would remove the pain of the loss – just that he would comfort us while we mourn – I pray he would fill you to overflowing with comfort and give you some understanding of his will at the same time!


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