Long ago, I would sit at the piano, mom standing behind me as she said, “Brynie, play this for me”. Generally, I would play the song, she would sing it a few times and off we would go in our different directions. But somewhere, buried deep in the creases of my brain, that familiar voice is still behind me just as loud and clear as ever.
“Therefore say: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will gather you from the nations and bring you back from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you back the land of Israel again.’~Ez 11:17
Mom didn’t play piano well. It was something she tried to teach herself, but her digits never found the right path easily, and as her fingers became more arthritic and deformed, it became even harder. She didn’t take well to things that she couldn’t do well, so she would ask me to play for her. Sometimes it was for some performance she was working on – a Republican gathering, a minstrel, a choir performance somewhere. Sometimes it was just a song she found and wanted to try out. Most of the time, especially in my teen years, it was a space where our souls met. A place where we stopped arguing or butting heads over principles and found the love and peace that brought us together as mother and daughter.
“So take my hand
And walk this land with me
And walk this lovely land with me
Tho’ I am just a man
When you are by my side
With the help of God
I know I can be strong.”
If I learned anything from my mother, it was watching her adhere to her principles. It didn’t matter if it put her family on the opposite side of her stance. It didn’t matter if it put her on the opposite side of those whom she admired because they went to college and she hadn’t. It didn’t matter if they made more money or had more “stuff”. She stuck to what she believed. That can be pretty daunting to the rebellious teen who got a lot of her own stubbornness from the one she was watching.
“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these .”~ Phil 4:8
I have been thinking about principles and our country all day. After all – it is Super Tuesday. It is – perhaps – the reason I heard her voice behind me singing this particular song. I can still see the picture on the front of the sheet music as I would open it up on our old, dark upright piano and begin to play. Later, I sang this song as well with my singing buddy/sister. The intricate harmonies circling a prayer around us just like it circled around my mother and I when we would made music together.
“…To make this land our home
If I must fight
I’ll fight to make this land our own.
Until I die this land is mine!” ~ Pat Boone, “Exodus”
Known as the “second national anthem of Israel”, the words and melody of this song still circle easily in my head. A blessing from God on this night of clashes between principles and politics. I’m wondering if I still have the sheet music tucked somewhere in the crates of music sitting by my Clavinova. Hmmmmm….if not, I guess I will be getting on Amazon and seeking out a new copy. My fingers, although slower and not so “piano-fluent” as they once were, still manage to make music. And for a moment – a tiny moment in time, I am back on Riverside Drive on a warm spring night. My mommy pulling me away from the telephone or the latest book find, and hearing her say, “Brynie, I need you to play this for me…”
“See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, That we would be called the children of God; and such we are.”~1 Jn 3:1