I woke up this morning thinking of various things I could do for "Ten on the Tenth".
But I'm not doing any of them...:) Somehow on the way to the store, my thoughts got hijacked and this is the result: songs that have meant a lot to me over the years.
1. Okay, this will really show just how old I am! When I was a child, I loved a Tennessee Ernie Ford song about Noah and the ark. It had a refrain that went: "Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord and he landed high and dry!" My mom had a lot of recordings of Ford's music and many years later, as an adult, I discovered His work on CD and still bust the songs out ever so often. I can never hear any of them without thinking about how much I loved them as a child. (Although "gopher wood" painted a whole different picture in my mind when I was young than it does now!!!)
2. In the third grade to my surprise, my school teacher, Mrs. McKinney, showed us a scratchy film about a famous composer and I was the only student in the class who recognized the music playing in the background!! I couldn't believe the other kids didn't know it. And I was equally shocked that the teacher would make a big deal about it because my mom played it all the time at our house!!! When I got home and told my mom about the film, she just looked at me and said, "Cathy Liz, Handel's Messiah is really pretty famous..." Live and learn...
3. When I was a teen, I loved the songs in The Sound of Music and probably sang "I am 15 going on 16" a thousand times - off-key every time, of course. I was thirteen when I first began to sing it around the house and I remember thinking it would be forever until I could be 16 and dance around a gazebo. It didn't take that long to turn 16 but Cabot was a little short on gazebos and I never learned to dance...
4. When I was in high school I had a friend, also named Kathy, and she could play the piano. We would get to church a little early on Wed. nights so she could pound out the tune, "The House of the Rising Sun" while we both belted out the words to "Amazing Grace".. Well, most of the time.. I will admit that sometimes we hollered out the original lyrics to that tune which was unfortunate. Especially when we got caught and our surreptitious singing sessions came to an end! Still like the tune, though, and actually try to sing it once in a while. I guess once a hippie, always a hippie... :)
5. My first three years out of college, I worked in the Hendrix Library and each Thanksgiving week, the staff and students would file into the Hendrix chapel for a short service. It was there that I first sang the words, "Now Thank we all our God with hearts and hands and voices..." I've loved it ever since but it wasn't until many years later, when I was teaching world history, that I realized this song was written during the Thirty Years War by a pastor who ended up doing about about 50 funerals a day, including the funeral of his own wife. For years, when I taught the Thirty Years War, which was pretty gruesome, I would end the lesson by reading the words to this hymn. I kept waiting for someone to scream "separation of church and state!!" but no one ever did. I wondered if the war itself was so gross that the kids were glad to leave class on a positive note. Probably though, they were just glad to leave class ... :)
6. In my mid-twenties, I learned to love the hymn, "In Heavenly Love Abiding." At that time, I was a discussion leader in BSF and each week the leaders would have a training session on Sat. morning. We'd sing a few songs from booklets which contained some out-of-print hymns. BSF had gotten legal permission to reprint those songs but for limited use only. So they asked us not to photocopy any of the songs and in May, when the study ended, we turned the booklets back in to the class secretary. "In Heavenly Love Abiding", however, had became so precious to me that I copied the words by hand (hoping that wouldn't count as a copy right violation!) and then memorized them so that I could sing the song during the summer months when BSF didn't meet. Honestly, there were days when I just leaned on that hymn; I don't think I'm exaggerating to say that I sang it almost daily for over a year while my family went through some really tough times. Still one of my favorites and I think it will be to my last breath!
7. Another special song, "Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee", is always associated in my mind with my wedding day and for good reason: this was the song that I marched down the aisle to! I think my mom wanted me to have the traditional wedding march but since I had grown up hearing my grandmother sing, "Here comes the bride, big, fat and wide!" there was no way I was going to use that one. At any rate, Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee was the perfect song for that day, now almost 25 years ago. I've always been glad that I chose it.
8. We went to a wonderful church for 15 years. (Really, I don't think we've ever gone to a church that wasn't wonderful - we've been blessed). The first time I visited Grace Church, I went alone because Phil was sick. I remember the sermon well - it was a dramatic dialogue telling the story of Hosea and Gomer, very well-done. But even more memorable than the sermon, was a haunting little chorus that the congregation sang, "You Are My Hiding Place." I went back for a second visit largely because of that song - I just wanted to hear it again! And the rest, as they say, is history!
9. While we were at Grace, the congregation sang another chorus and I fell in love with it. But I didn't know the name of it! So for 6 months, whenever I was in a Christian book store, I would listen to CD's trying to find it. Finally, I even called our worship pastor and his wife gave me what she thought was the title but I still couldn't find it. One day I went into a Christian book store and I mentioned the opening words to a young clerk, as I had mentioned it to others. Immediately this girl recognized the lyrics and took me to the very CD that I wanted. Joy!! The song was "You Are My All in All" and that CD was the first of many Dennis Jernigan recordings that I bought. If you haven't heard his testimony, it is amazing!
10. Now that we are at Geyer Springs, there are many songs that I love - I can't possibly narrow it down to just one. Some of the songs the choir sings are new to me and at times I try to scribble the lyrics down on the bulletin so that I can find the song later. Once I was sitting in the balcony with my Beth Moore study book on Revelation in my book bag and suddenly I realized we were actually singing Scripture from my current Bible study lesson! When I got home, I asked my son if he could help me get the song off Itunes even though I didn't know the title. When I told him the lyrics, he looked at me like, "Duhhhh, Mom..." and said, "Um, the title is the... "Revelation Song..." Who would have thought??... But perhaps my favorite hymn is the Keith and Kristen Getty song, "May This Journey Bring a Blessing..." And my favorite chorus is: There is a Fountain! But then, I don't know because there's...
Ummm, Obviously this topic for me should be entitled "Hundred on the Hundreth" instead of Ten on the Tenth! At any rate, today I'm thankful for music and how God has used it in my life, unable to carry a tune though I may be...:) And now, I think I need to go sing something.. while the house is still empty...:)