Unitarian Hymnal Sing-along

In which Kathryn attempts to sing a different song everyday from the Unitarian Universalist hymnal, 'Singing the Living Tradition'. Earlier posts are based on songs from the Reader's Digest songbooks she found at yard sales as a child, including: 'Reader's Digest Treasury of Best Loved Songs', 'Reader's Digest Family Songbook', and 'Reader's Digest Family Songbook of Faith and Joy'. Bonus Folk song material from: 'Folk Song USA', by John and Alan Lomax.

02 January 2008

"No Longer Forward or Behind"

No longer forward or behind I look in hope or fear;
but grateful, take the good I find, the best of now and hear.
I break my pilgrim staff, I lay aside the toiling oar;
the angel sought so far away I welcome at my door.

For all the jarring noise of life seems blending in a psalm,
and all the angles of its strife slow rounding into calm.
And so the shadows fall apart, and so the west winds play;
and all the windows of my heart I open to the day.

text by John Greenleaf Whittier

This is my new-again-and again-and again goal: to be Here Now. To live in the present. To be open to the beauty and goodness in my world. 'Cause I'm not at all thinking about how my good friend doesn't want to speak to me, not about how he hasn't spoken to me in a year, not about how I, today, told him that I would no longer keep my door open to him--oh, unlocked, but not open--all in an attempt to keep my boundaries clear, to ease the pain on my heart, O no, I am not thinking about that at all.

I am thinking about snow, and red wine, and hot sex, and fluffy knitting. Not all together.

01 January 2008

"Mother Spirit, Father Spirit"

Mother Spirit, Father Spirit, where are you?
In the sky song, in the forest sounds your cry.
What to give you, what to call you, what am I?

Many drops are in the ocean, deep and wide.
Sunlight bounces off the ripples to the sky.
What to give you, what to call you, who am I?

I am empty, times flies from me; what is time?
Dreams eternal, fears infernal haunt my heart.
What to give you, what to call you, O my God?

Mother Spirit, Father Spirit, take our hearts.
Take our breath and let our voices sing our parts.
Take our hands and let us work to shape our art.

text by Richard Frederick Boeke, from a translation by Paul and Anita Munk

I'm doing fairly well this New Year's Day, determined to start as I mean to go on. Not that I can't add, or subtract things from this day forward, but I am all about the power of action, actions as symbols that can shape the map of my life. So today I drank my latte, read some, hugged my daughter, ran a little, did some specific abs and leg exercises, a little movement meditation, played some piano (Bach, and the Debussy Clair de Lune that I've been having real trouble getting comfortable with), spent time with friends, did laundry and dishes (not because it's my life goal to do these things daily, but it's a good reminder that they have to fit in somewhere), drank red wine, had sex, sang some (including looking at a couple new-to-me songs), and here I am writing in my little blog. I'll knit later to round the whole thing out. What I wish I had done, as well: sewn something. Practiced French, recorder, mandolin, string figures, or juggling. Written a song, or in my journal.

This song does have a Native American feel to it, just enough to evoke without being overdone for the general public. It speaks to the desire to know God, and I'm not so consumed by this desire. I take God on the fly, in the moment, trusting that She knows her business and doesn't need me to worry about it for Her.

Who am I? I am the me defined by the above actions, by my long hair and loud laugh, the people that love me, and those who I love. I need to feel like I'm working; I can't stay still for long, unless that's the goal I'm after. I rejoice in my brains, and grieve my loss of memory. I love the feel of myself in my body. I occasionally crave salty foods and well-written romances, uncontrollably. People are the most important thing in my life. I'm not afraid to take time for myself, or to say no. I believe that life can be very good. Here's to a good year.

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