An author whose blog I enjoy, recently asked readers to identify their 2011 “theme songs.” Thanks to my friend, Jeanny, I knew exactly what I would choose. After church last Sunday, Jeanny, who sings with the lilting, pulsating voice of an angel, suggested that I listen to Van Morrison’s version of Be Thou My Vision. Be Thou My Vision has long been a favorite hymn of mine, but it took hearing Morrison grind out the ancient Irish poem, to adopt it as my theme for 2011. This is not Morrison’s young and cheery Brown- Eyed Girl voice. It is a voice weathered and rough-hewn like the stone fences that cascade down the green hills in the meadows of his native Ireland. It is a chiseled plea.
“Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart; naught be all else to me save that thou art – thou my best thought by day or by night, waking or sleeping, thy presence my light.”
Jeanny didn’t say why she liked this version. She is a quietly exuberant woman, undergoing the Scupltor’s chisel herself, as she and her husband struggle to maintain their footing on the rocky path of raising an autistic child. Though her burdens are immense she radiates the light of the One whose presence she seeks.
“Be thou my battleshield, sword for my fight; be thou my dignity, thou my delight, thou my soul’s shelter, thou my high tow’r; raise thou me heav’nward, O Pow’r of my pow’r.”
Jeanny’s son is in elementary school, but four of my kids have or will soon have “flown the coop” – a much better euphemism for the wing-growing process than the gentle, benign “leaving the nest.” This period of pushing and pulling, pursed lips and prayer poses an assault on my ability to remain dignified. Addictions, joblessness, car wrecks and college choices. Often I feel like the strains voiced by Morrison’s contemporary, Mick Jagger, “If I don’t get some shelter, oh yeah, I’m gonna fade away.” The delights (scholarships, rehab successes, good grades and growth in faith) though thoroughly penetrating when realized, aren’t fully satisfying apart from the power of my Power.
“High King of heaven, my victory won, may I reach heaven’s joys, O bright heav’n’s Sun! Heart of my own heart, whatever befall, still be my vision, O Ruler of all.”
I think I’m going to stick with this chiseled plea for 2012, too.