Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Sound of Music

I had the thrill of visiting with Maria Von Trapp at the mic in Burlington, Vermont, back in 1999, for the Woman to Woman® Christmas show. Maria’s family story inspired the grand musical The Sound of Music. The film was definitely not a documentary, she advised, because the film’s great escape over the mountain would have landed them in the Berchtesgaden -- Hitler’s hideout! She went on to say that the children were actually older, the eldest being a medical school student at the time of their escape.

There was plenty of truth in the movie version, however. Their mother did die, leaving seven children. The Captain “wasn’t as strict as portrayed in the movie with his whistle. He adored us and provided lovingly for us in every possible way.” It is true that he called a monastery to find a teacher for his daughter, Maria; she had a weak heart and required home tutoring. The monastery recommended another “Maria,” sent home from the convent with headaches. This was the musical Maria who came to teach with guitar in tow. The children’s mother had taught them instruments and to sing, but not in parts. Now they would learn Austrian folk songs and harmony and eventually take their show on the road…around Europe and all the way to the United States. The new Maria taught the ailing young Maria in the mornings and in the afternoons developed the little troupe for the stage. Somewhere along the way, she also found the time to fall in love with the Captain!

They married and ultimately brought three more children into the world. In fact, Maria was pregnant with their last child when they escaped. I asked the younger Maria how she could be thankful with so much loss in her life. She said her mother’s death, her own childhood heart disease (which she noted joyfully brought a new mother into her life!) and her family’s flight with no money from Austria all appeared to be tragic, “but it turned out to be a blessing that sent us around the world singing! So tell people to praise God under all circumstances. The devil cannot win when we do that!”

If all that glitters is not gold, I learned from Maria Von Trapp that all that shatters is not loss. Maria’s life message is to wait on the Lord. He revealed to her over time that just as He took her beloved mother home to Himself in heaven, He sent another mother to pick up where the first left off and finish the job. It was her work teaching them musical parts, after all, that was their ticket out of harm’s way. Christmas reminds us of how, for thousands of years, God’s people waited and watched for The Messiah to come. And when the time was right, He came! This Christmas, He comes with joy to the world. He comes to you, in your waiting, in your circumstance, to bring you His peace. Merry Christmas!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So beautifully quoted and written. We (the collective 'we') have no idea of the hardships during World War II - the dedication and devotion of these people... I admire them for their perseverance and their faith. God is so Good!