It goes without saying that 2020 has been a year like no other. After I released my song “America,” a friend reached out to me to suggest I enter the Be Still Media Competition. She figured the prize money would be a good way to raise funds for my album project. I looked into it, but when I saw that the deadline was less than a month away, I doubted whether I could create something to fit the prompt “Mentors” in time.

Then, on September 17, my dear friend Elsa passed away after several weeks of struggling for her life with Covid-19. The following week, after attending her memorial, which was streamed online from Tennessee, I was flooded with emotion as I reflected on all Elsa meant to me, and how profoundly her life affected mine. That night, “Kingdom Come” flowed from me, as I attempted to process her death. I hope this song conveys that great sense of loss on the one hand, while also pointing to the longing for what is to be gained on the other side of grief.

Along with my song submission, I also included a watercolor of a geranium I painted during the Covid lockdown. The vibrance of the color, set off by the darkness surrounding it, perfectly reflects my feelings about Elsa. The beauty of who she was is contrasted against the trials she endured in her physical body – as frail as a flower.

Elsa always encouraged me to make music, so it’s fitting that my parting gift to her is a song. I still have the little wooden painted heart she gave me that reads, “Sing for joy, Thena!” And I do have joy in the midst of sorrow, as I look and wait for God’s Kingdom Come.