How can I keep from singing?

It’s been a day. Started by spilling coffee on my shirt when I transferred it to the travel mug so I wouldn’t spill it. Change shirts. Load the dogs up to go to the groomer’s. Spill coffee from that stupid travel mug on shirt number 2. Get to the groomer’s, and Cooper manages to soak my pants with what’s left in that ever inefficient travel mug. Call work – I’ll be a few minutes late. Run home, change clothes (that shirt 3, pants 2) again. Get to work just before 8:30.

Give me patience Lord. I was so not at peace before 8:30 am. And work was not exactly a calming experience either.

Call me back, Lord. Remind me that You are the wind beneath my wings, that you are the Rock that I stand on. And most of all, help me slow down and take a minute to talk with You.

And yet, as twitchy and unfocused as I was, ocasionally I could hear those words:

Through all the tumult and the strife,
I hear the Music ringing
If Love is Lord of Heaven and Earth
How can I keep from singing?

I have been given many gifts in this life – music is one of my favorites. I’ve not been gifted with a glorious voice, but I can make my guitar sing. I hear music in my head. Music calms my soul. Music feeds me and gives me energy to go on. Some weeks, by Thursday, I’m ready to throw in the towel. And then we congregate at church for what passes for choir practice, and I am renewed.

It’s so amazing that God can find so many different ways to be present to us — if I just pay attention, I can see and hear Her. In people, in nature and in music.

How can I keep from singing?

A Need to Sing Praise

Yesterday I got a call asking me if I knew the praise song “Lord, I Lift Your Name on High” and if not, could I learn it. I’d heard it, so I went out to iTunes to get a copy so I could learn it. There were 107 different versions of this song. So, I picked the one that seemed most popular, bought it and proceeded to learn to sing and play it in a matter of minutes.

If you aren’t familiar, the words go like this (I hope I’m not in copyright trouble here):

Lord, I lift your Name on high
Lord, I love to sing Your praises
I’m so glad you’re in my life
I’m so glad you came to save us

You came from heaven to earth – to show us the way
From earth to the cross — to pay my debt
From the cross to grave, from the grave to the sky
Lord, I lift Your Name on high

I can’t get it out of my head. It’s swirling through my brain and has been for hours. I can only conclude that something about the words and the melody have (forgive me) struck a chord. There’s something inside that needs to praise the Lord. As it runs through my brain I am reminded of the idea that to sing is to pray twice.

And so, I’ll just continue to sing praises. That is quite the foundation to rest on when I’m wrestling with knotty questions and fuming about things I don’t understand and disagree with. It’s good to sit back and offer a good song of praise.


I could go off on a lot of tangents this morning, but the gospel is pulling me back to shepherd images. When I was a teenager, someone gave me the following (I don’t know the author – does anyone else have a clue?)

Shepherd, shall I tend your sheep?
I with scant shepherd’s skill?
But I see them weep and weep.
And if I do not go who will?
They don’t belong to me
And I’m not sure where the sheepfold is.
But as I look around I see
In a world that is not mine but His
None to go save such as I
So when in the dark I heard them cry
There’s only one thing left do
Look for Your light to lead them to.

I must have been meant to remember those words as that was probably the first thing I every set to music. I sat one afternoon with my guitar and learned the song that played in my head. And now , nearly 4 decades later the words are still clear in my head. Of course I sing it to myself when I try to type it out as the words and melody are now intertwined.

With all the publicity about the Pope’s visit to the US I am bombarded with words and images of Benedict as the [Supreme] Shepherd. We must remember that only Jesus is the Shepherd, and we (including the entire hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church) are the much more like the voice in this Shepherd Song: Looking for the Light to lead them to. May the Pope know the Shepherd’s voice, and may the Light shine brightly for him.

Picking Up Stones

At the Foot of Knocknarea (Cathie Ryan:The Music of What Happens) is a song about a woman carrying a stones to the top of Knocknarea to leave at Queen Mave’s (sp?) cairn – a stone that bears all her troubles. I’m picking through the stones I’d like to leave at the tomb, or the cross.

One stone is regret (and guilt) over being silent and fearful. Not listening to my soul. Hiding my feelings so deep they were hidden from myself. To be honest, I can’t name those times. I can name a few times when I was brave, wasn’t silent. So – I’ll leave the un-named stones for healing and remember being brave and what it meant.

Many years ago, neighbors and family were at my house for dinner or some such gathering. We were standing in the kitchen. I think my sister and brother in-law were there, and the folks across the street. The conversation had to do with the others recently joining a local club (think a large relative of the whitetail deer). Only the men could/can join as it’s a men’s organization. (I really don’t have as much of a problem with men’s only organizations as maybe I should, because if women need to be free to have sisterhoods, then men probably need brotherhoods…. but that’s an aside to this story. ) They were encouraging my husband to think about becoming a member. The lodge has a nice swimming pool and the kids could go there to swim during out brutally hot summer. And – this is the part that got me rolling – when the kids went there you didn’t have to deal with the blacks like you did /do at the city pool. Something snapped. I heard myself proclaim the “John wouldn’t ever be joining any a racially prejudiced men’s club.” The room went silent. My heart pounded. Then the conversation slowly restarted – on a different topic.

Fear is a powerful thing… overcoming it is also powerful. However, I still need to learn to accept my own spot when I do find my voice…. and not feel guilty about succeeding.

On Eagle’s Wings

I think I might just sing the refrain differently if I don’t watch it:
And She will raise you up on eagle’s wings
Bear you on the breath of dawn
Make you to shine like the sun
And hold you in the palm of Her hand.

I’ve been listening to “On the Wing” on the Radio Reader for a couple of weeks. One observation that the author/narrator makes is that in the bird world the females are often larger and stronger than the males. The particular birds he was referring to are Peregrin Falcons, and he goes on to observe that the females fly slightly later than their brothers — probably because they have more growing to do than the males. So, why wouldn’t those eagle’s wings be Hers? And, perhaps the slowness in realizing my full potential is because I have more growing to do to get there.