The hardest part was—
Romanos knew what they said was true...
Young Romanos is devoted to Christ and His Mother and longs to be able to sing his praises to them. But when he tries, his voice croaks and the words won’t come. The other cantors make fun of him—until one miraculous Christmas Eve.
Story behind the story...
Writing about those who have lived before us—lived lives of struggle and joy, of light and love--is such an honor. Just entering their world, through research, through old books, through prayer, and by asking those who know more than I do about them—it's like beginning a friendship.
When I read the story of Saint Romanos years ago, I was struck by the many elements found in this one miracle that I have retold as Sweet Song that might inspire a young child. The steady and humble faith of a young man; the grandeur of the Hagia Sophia; bullying by those who should be friends; the shame and humility of being put on the spot; the sadness of feeling inadequate; the tears of a broken heart; the asking for help; and the joy of being tended to by someone who cares. All these elements are experiences and feelings known to a young child as he or she encounters life in the real world.
We don't really even need the miracle of music to make this story interesting or inspiring!
But then you add music, and I'm jumping up and down and my pen is scribbling furiously.
Music is an integral part of the Meyer home. And even though neither my husband nor I are accomplished musicians—we appreciate the power music holds, and have built a home where music is present and encouraged. Our children have all been enrolled in children's choirs and gone on to sing in the church, and we have regular family musicals, and we write songs, and sing old ballads around the piano. I can even (just barely, really) play the harmonica.
I'm hoping young children will read this tale of Saint Romanos and see some of their own story in his struggle and surrender. Not all of us will be gifted like he was with the miracle of music, but all of us have the potential to be filled to the brim with Christ. We can become people who cry out for help when it's needed, who work hard at the things before us, and who can ultimately change the world for good!