In the night as I gaze at the stars in their flight,
seeking answers above, seeking all the is right.
Although nothing is said in response to my plight,
I can see many things that remain out of sight.
What I see calms my fears, what I feel seems so near
it’s the essence of hope and a blessing to hear.
It is faith that I find, it is gentle and kind,
It gives light to the blind and sweet peace to the mind.
Yesterday while I was writing about paying attention to patience and waiting for the mud to settle, I was aware that a song had been gently humming her way into my heart. Does that ever happen to you? Well the song that came early on while I was trying to get my thoughts on paper was the song above. And this morning, this soul-song sings on. In the Night is from the musical, Spoon River Anthology. A hundred years ago (give or take, of course) my sister, Claudia directed this musical Spoon River as her senior project at Illinois Wesleyan. She invited me to perform the music. If I do say myself, my sister did a beautiful job of weaving the stories and these songs together. These words fit hand-in-glove for me as I companioned Lao Tze's words about waiting and settling.
There are songs that hold us in place. There are songs that are tucked safely away, staying always close to our hearts. Somehow these songs know how to revisit at just the right time. Maybe it’s been years, maybe it’s been decades since I thought of this song and just at what seemed like the exact right moment, the song comes back. I will never understand how in the world this happens. I will always be forever grateful.
Few folks know about Spoon River Anthology. Edgar Lee Masters wrote it in 1915 about a small town in downstate Illinois. It’s a beautiful story of a cemetery, and different residents who now are in different plots, side-by-side. In this book, they tell us of their stories. These reading tell us townspeople’s memories of their lives and loves, their hopes and fears. I will always treasure that time and those stories and songs.
The words to this song comfort and sustain. They wrap their arms around me and hold me close in their hearts. They see me through when I can’t see for myself. They feel when I’m afraid to. They see in the dark.
So what does all this mean? What does it mean about some songs showing up uninvited and coming from the past? What do these songs bring to us? Songs somehow revisiting us at just the right time? Maybe it's in those unexpected moments, that grace comes. Maybe it's lovingkindness that shows up, uninvited - yet, just on time. Grace needed for me today. Grace needed for all of us.
Sing into us a song this day, Creator God. When what we have known now seems to be unsettled and unsettling, sing into us a song that will hold us and steady us. Sing into us a song that will move us from where we are to where you will have us be. Sing into us a song that draws bigger and broader circles that include more of us, not less. Sing into us songs that create harmonies, connect more voices, not less. Sing songs that unite us and inspire us into who You have created us to be. From our first breath to our last, sing into us a new song, Creator and still Creating God.