Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Songs of The Heart

We're weird! I never knew! Okay, that's a lie. But I didn't know that one of the ways that we're different is that we sing regularly--as a family.

We're certainly not the King Family Singers (boy, that dates me!), or the Jackson 5, but we do sing in our home quite a bit. I guess "quite a bit" is a relative term and I'm just realizing that it might apply to us. Of course we have individuals in the house that sing privately in their rooms--with or without the cd player. We have those who, like my sister when she was a teenager, sing in front of the mirror with a make-believe mike (deoderant containers work great).

But as a family we sing every morning before scripture reading and every night before family prayer. Several Sundays a month we have friends over and sit around the livingroom and sing whatever hymns we happen to want to sing (in between eating biscuits--actually, I'm not sure if we have biscuits when people come over to sing or if we sing when people come over for biscuits!). Sometimes Casey plays the banjo and we sing "old timey" songs like "I'll Fly Away" or "Amazing Grace." We've prepared special numbers and done them for church (the whole group, not just our family). We've taken a whole year getting a special number ready for performance before--it didn't need that much prep it was really just an excuse to get together to sing.

Many years ago Casey suggested that he would like the kids to have some of the hymns memorized, so we did that. It was pretty easy--kids are great memorizers, especially anything set to music. We rarely sing children's church songs, but one time we did learn a song called "Love Is Spoken Here" in parts (girls' part/boys' part)--that was for Family Home Evening. We've memorized all of the books in the Old Testament to the tune of "Praise to the Man" and the New Testament to "Guide Us, O Thou Great Jehovah." (I like those better than the ones they have in the children's book--we can sing them FAST.)

One of my favorite memories involves singing together. It was Christmas 2006 and all of the "away" kids had come home for the holiday. One of the drawbacks (and it's a big one) of living where we do is that when you send one of your children off to college, etc., you never know when you're going to see them again--especially at home. It was the night before Levi was to leave and we were having family prayer before sending the little kids off to bed. We paused as we looked around the room, and someone started to sing "I have a family here on earth...." Even though Levi no longer was practicing our religion, of course he knew the song and we all joined in as always. I never felt the words of that song more warmly than I did at that moment--I was glad that we could express our feelings for each other in that way.

The hymns that I know have helped me a lot over the years. I suspect they have helped the other members of my family as well--I hope they have.


celtishbee said...

I love the hymns and have received much strength and comfort from singing them to myself (I don't think anyone else would find comfort in hearing me). Sometimes, when singing one of the really old protestant hymns, I wonder how many people have sung that over the centuries and felt comforted by the very words I am singing now.

yesweareonmars said...

I also like the old protestant hymns. I haven't heard hymns in English for so long I no longer remember the words but the protestant hymns I can sing with the harp or in the car. They are simple and easy to remember.

I can't get my kids to sing much. They sing alone in their rooms but never with me or another. Paris sings in church but never in the choir. I don't get it. It must come from the Dutch side. Hans won't sing at all...EVER. But the kids know the songs cuz they hear me sing them and they sometimes sing them under their breath. Strange!

Mallory said...

I love all the singing we do as a family - hymn and otherwise. It's always fun, and a good way to bond...or whatever. ;)

I remember one time on MDI, my roommate Sarah, who is very religious, was singing "How Great Thou Art" when I walked into the room. I joined her on the next line and she just stopped and stared at me wide-eyed. "You know that song?!" "Well, yeah. Everyone knows that song." She told me otherwise, that very few baptists even knew that song (which is what she claims for the most part). I was shocked, and told her it was a very, very old song and that most people in Mormonism knew the song well. She just could not get over it. She was amazed!

Ave said...

Mum taught me to cling to those hymns in times of trial and stress. Such a good thing to have spinning in the brain instead of worry.