How Can I Keep from Singing?
My life goes on in endless song
Above earth´s lamentations,
I hear the real, though far-off hymn
That hails a new creation.
Through all the tumult and the strife
I hear its music ringing,
It sounds an echo in my soul.
How can I keep from singing?
Songwriters: Eithne Ni Bhraonain, Nicky Ryan, Roma Ryan
Singing has been one of my treasured companions as I've been making my way through these COVID-19/ Lenten days. Songs have come as a Balm in Gilead, to heal my sin sick soul. Songs that call for the coming of a fount of every blessing, that tunes my heart to sing Thy grace. Songs that sing of streams of mercy, calling for songs of loudest praise. Songs have brought memories of strength, reminders of encouragements and promises of spring’s new life. Songs have gotten me from there to here and I believe that they will see me through to my very last step.
How Can I Keep from Singing is one of those songs that stands tall in the face of fear. It's one of those songs that calls on the strength of ancestors and brings me echoes of their wisdom. I'm worried now, but I won't be long. Do Lord, oh do Lord, oh do you remember me? God's gonna trouble the waters. I know all these songs from the inside out, and when I sing them, they come back 'round again. When I sing them, they bring comfort and reassurance. When I sing them, they bring both groundedness and inspiration.
My singing on this COVID-19/ Lenten journey has changed as the journeying days have changed. Sometimes the songs at dawn are led by the first birds who feel the surrounding darkness and call out for another with their song. Songs sung alone can be changed as my pace changes, can be as mournful or as goofy as my heart calls up. Songs sung with another or two or three calls for harmony, the kind of harmony you hear and the kind you feel. Songs at dusk are often reflecting and remembering songs, ones that hold my heart as it holds my story. Songs sung late into the dark are perhaps my most honest and tender, my most vulnerable and intimate. Day by day, hour by hour songs shepherd me as I take my next step.
How can I keep from singing? If there ever was a time for singing it is now. As we live in and through these days as this virus is growing, as we draw closer to Jerusalem, we are called to sing. These are our singing-in-the-shower songs. These are the songs that we sing at the top of lungs, the songs that we know by heart. How can we keep from singing? This long-ago tune reminds us that the song sings in us. This COVID-19/Lenten journey calls out to us to keep singing, to keep listening for another’s song and to know how we are all held in each faithful melody.
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Lesley is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. Her passions are listening to her sons, John Brogan and Sam sing; great conversations, long walks and baseball.