On Fridays, a bunch of brave people write in response to a prompt for five minutes without backtracking or over-editing and share their writing here. Why? Because it’s Friday, and we should celebrate making it to the end of the week. Because sometimes, letting words pour out without stopping them to see if they are good enough for anyone else is healing for the soul. And because “writing is an act of faith, not a trick of grammar” (E.B. White).
I’m not sure when I first heard it, but I know we sang it in Miss Emily’s choir…a flock of four-year-olds in little white robes and wooden Sunday School chairs taking the exhortation to make a joyful noise very literally. It rooted itself in my head and my heart, the little melody in its lovely simplicity repeating over and over, accompanying my sandbox digging, my swinging, my coloring, my tricycle riding.
In school, it sometimes began to play inside me when I felt nervous…before a timed math test, before my lines in the fourth grade play, before we marched onto the field for a band competition. It followed me to college, where I hummed it as I moved my things into my first dorm room. I played it in the practice room in an almost-empty music building before my first end-of-year jury. I listened to it inside my head when anxiety made it hard to fall asleep.
I always thought I would sing it as a lullaby…and when we thought we might not be able to have any children, I hummed it to comfort myself at night. When our foster children had trouble sleeping, I sang it to them, rocking them in the blue armchair in our tiny living room. When I learned I was pregnant, I rocked in the chair and sang it to the little boy I carried…and when Samuel finally arrived, I sang it into his tiny ear our first night together as mother and child, his tiny warm body cuddled in my arms.
How many times I’ve played and sung this simple melody…how many times it has brought comfort to me and to the little ones I love. Even now, as I hum it to myself, I realize it’s not just the song that has been with me all these years, wrapped around so many stages of my life like a blanket – it’s the One whose love is wrapped all around each of us…the One whose name I sing.