Saturday, November 2, 2013

A Gift That Wraps Me In Comfort and Solace

 One of my friends and her husband downsized their household last November.  She taught piano for many years, and was an accomplished pianist.  When asked if I would like to have any of her things, after thoughtful consideration, I asked for a hymnal.  Though I have stacks of music, and even gospel song books, I did not own a hymnal. 
 I'm surprised that not owning a hymnal was my reality. 
 Among other music, I was raised singing and playing hymn tunes, so not having a hymnal left somewhat of a void in my musical "library".
My mother sang from the church pew and never played an instrument, but she was the driving force in making sure we were a singing family.  She encouraged us to practice each day when we were learning to play instruments.  How she endured all ten of us learning to play and sing, I will never know.

One of my profound memories is mother at the end of the day, saying, "Let's sing a little bit." She would hand out hymnals, my sister would play the piano and we would sing.  I suppose we, her family, were her instrument. 

I've often wondered, knowing how hard she worked, how she had the patience to have us gather 'round and sing after a long day.

This past year, I have related to her, when I sit down to the piano and begin to play through my, new to me, hymnal. 
 I sense my weariness ebbing away and my questioning and fearful heart being drawn to think and live in a sphere and realm that is above my circumstances and emotions. 
 I wish I could ask her if we were merely singing, like I thought.
What was she seeing, feeling, hearing in those moments?

However, I'm certain, I would know her answer. 
 Ah no, we weren't just singing,
we were overcoming...
overcoming whatever was hindering us.

The hymn, "Take My Life and Let It Be", is a beautiful rendering of consecration to be more than we are, in our frail humanity.  This particular series of lyrics has been set to at least seven melodies.  The melody that is my favorite with these words, 
was composed by H.A. Cesar Malan.
 Once I begin to play the melody and harmony,
 I find it hard to stop. 
The tune pulls me on and on, like a babbling brook splashing across stones as it flows toward the river. 
 Every line, the melody and harmony, is beautiful, 
 beautiful when played together, 
 beautiful when played separately, 
 and beautiful when the additional notes of improvisation are added.
I feel the notes pulled from my fingertips.

I'm delighted to have this hymnal. It's a gift that wraps me in comfort and solace.  As I have played through it, many of the songs I know, and many I don't, but it hasn't mattered. 
 I've played on. 
 And that exercise of playing and knowing
 and playing and NOT knowing,
has strengthened my careful consideration of life.
Is there a hymn or song that strikes a chord with you?
Take My Life and Let It Be
Lyrics by Frances Ridley Havergal

Take my life, and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee;
Take my moments and my days,
Let them flow in ceaseless praise,
Let them flow in ceaseless praise.
Take my hands, and let them move
At the impulse of Thy love;
Take my feet and let them be
Swift and beautiful for Thee,
Swift and beautiful for Thee.
Take my voice, and let me sing
Always, only, for my King;
Take my lips, and let them be
Filled with messages from Thee,
Filled with messages from Thee.
Take my silver and my gold;
Not a mite would I withhold;
Take my intellect, and use
Every power as Thou shalt choose,
Every power as Thou shalt choose.
Take my will, and make it Thine;
It shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart; it is Thine own;
It shall be Thy royal throne,
It shall be Thy royal throne.
Take my love; my Lord, I pour
At Thy feet its treasure-store.
Take myself, and I will be
Ever, only, all for Thee,
Ever, only, all for Thee.


Claudia said...

I grew up singing in church and in the choir - in a Lutheran church. I used to have our old hymnal, but I've lost it. It had the old liturgy in it, which I liked far more than the new one! I wish I knew what happened to it. I do have some hymnals from my great grandmother, but they are too fragile to use.


Donnie Pirtle said...

WOW, Thoughtful, Beautiful! I need to give you some of my many hymnals.
Have a wonderful day.

Yellow Rose Arbor said...

I LOVED reading this, you are soooo good with putting your thoughts down on paper. What a sweet mother to raise ten children and at the end of a day of hard work to relax with singing with her loved ones! Priceless!

Back in the 80s I was in our church choir (I was newly single and hurting.) We sang in a Christmas cantata written by the Gaithers. Their songs ministered to be then and I still love all their music.

Thanks for your sweet comments on our family wedding, glad you enjoyed seeing the pictures.