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Back in 1932, this man was a fairly new husband. His wife Nettie and he were living in a little apartment on Chicago's south side.

One hot August afternoon, he had to go to St. Louis, Missouri where he was the featured soloist at a large revival meeting.

He didn't want to go. His wife was in the last month of pregnancy with their first child, but many people were expecting him in St. Louis.

He kissed Nettie good-bye, clattered downstairs to their Model A automobile, and, in a fresh Lake Michigan breeze, chugged out of Chicago.

Just outside the city, he discovered that in his anxiety at leaving, he had forgotten his music case. He wheeled around and headed back home.

He found Nettie sleeping peacefully. He hesitated at her bedside, something strongly telling him to stay, but, eager to get on his way and not wanting to disturb Nettie, he shrugged off the feeling and quietly slipped out of the room.

The next night, in the steaming St. Louis heat, the crowd called on him to sing again and again.

When he finally finished and sat down, a messenger boy ran in with a Western Union telegram.

He ripped open the envelope, and on the yellow sheet were the words, "YOUR WIFE JUST DIED."

People were happily singing and clapping all around him, but he could hardly keep from crying out.

He rushed to a phone and called home. All he could hear on the other end was, "Nettie is dead. Nettie is dead."

When he got back home, he learned that Nettie had given birth to a boy. He swung between grief and joy. Yet that same night, the baby died.

He buried Nettie and their little boy together in the same casket. Then he fell apart.

For days he closeted himself. He felt that God had done him an injustice. He didn't want to serve Him anymore or write gospel songs. He wanted to go back to that jazz world he once knew so well.

But then, as he pondered, alone in that dark apartment those first sad days, he thought back to the afternoon he went to St. Louis.

Something kept telling him to stay with Nettie. Was that something God? "Oh, if I had paid more attention to Him that day, I would have stayed and been with Nettie when she died."

From that moment on he vowed to listen more closely to Him, but he was still lost in his grief.

Everyone was kind to him, especially one friend. The following Saturday evening, the friend took him up to a neighborhood music college.

It was quiet. The late evening sun crept through the curtained windows. He sat down at the piano, and his hands began to browse over the keys.

Something happened to him then. He felt at peace. He felt as though he could reach out and touch God. He found himself playing a melody that once into his head, just seemed to fall in place.

"Precious Lord, take my hand. Lead me on, let me stand. I am tired. I am weak. I am worn. Through the storm, through the night, lead me on to the light. Take my hand. Precious Lord, lead me home."

The Lord gave him these words and melody, and He also healed his spirit. He learned that when we are in our deepest grief, when we feel farthest from God, this is when He is closest and when we are most open to His restoring power.

And so he went on living for God, willingly and joyfully, until that day came when He took the song writer and gently lead him home.

The writer of "Precious Lord" was Tommy A. Dorsey,
not the bandleader but a blues piano player who opened the first black gospel music publishing company, Dorsey House of Music. He also founded his own gospel choir and was a founder and first president of the National Convention of Gospel Choirs and Choruses.

Did you know which Tommy Dorsey wrote this song? I didn't.

Music: Precious lord, take my hand --- Elvis Presley
      and Jim Reeves.
Basis of the story - an Email sent by Nevada Smith!