Friday, May 15, 2009

A New Song

Last summer, when our next door neighbor was reorganizing the Children's Choir at our church, Mandy and I both mentioned to her about allowing Maya to participate in that choir.

Initially, Deb was a bit leery as one of her requirements of the kids was that they be able to read. However, she relented and took Maya into the fold to participate in some of the songs -at least the easier ones that she can just memorize the melody and the words.

Back in November, the Children's Choir sang at the service on the Sunday before Thanksgiving and that was Maya's first time singing in public with them. The song was an old family favorite -as well as a big favorite within our parish too -an old Swedish hymn. The title is "Children of the Heavenly Father" and the kids were to sing the first verse of it in English and then repeat the first verse in Swedish.

So Mandy and I had to practice this song, over and over with Maya to be sure she knew the melody as well as the words. We even had to teach her the words in Swedish too. And the surprising thing is she learned it very well. Frequently, during that time span, she would be busy playing with her toys and humming something and then, all of a sudden, she would switch over and start singing this song.

On the day of the service, Kylie, the Director's daughter, stood directly behind Maya and held both her hands, down at her side, which served multiple purposes. It relaxed Maya, helped take away any stage fright she may have been encountering and also, it kept her from putting her hands up to her face and mouth, which would have muffled the words and melody as she sang.

And she did beautifully! You could watch her lips as she sang along with the other kids and you knew that she KNEW the words -that she wasn't just mouthing something, anything, to pretend to be singing, the way kids often do.

Now, the Children's Choir is to sing at the service on the first Sunday in June. Because of the proximity of that Sunday to high school (and college too) graduations, the song the kids will be singing is one that Maya has probably never heard. It's a bit more involved in length than was the other song too but I think the words are easy enough that, with a good bit of practice with her, she will be able to master that. The melody too is a bit different but pretty in a kind of upbeat type of way. The whole song is, to me, just hauntingly beautiful.

The name of the song is "I Was There To Hear Your Borning Cry" text and music by John Vivasaker, 1937.

It is written as a song being sung to us, each of us, by God, our Lord and Savior and it takes us from our birth, how our life progresses through the church as well as outside of that fold until our life on earth is done. I think most hymns are written to be songs of praise by us to God and this one is Him, speaking to us, telling us He has been with us from the hour of our birth and that He will be with us through out or lives, through the good times and the bad as well and shows that He will never leave us.

I'm really looking forward to teaching this song to Maya -to practicing the words with her and then, to helping her to learn the music. (Provided I can eventually master picking out the melody on the organ in the first place!)

Hopefully too, by practicing this song, over and over, during the coming weeks, by the time the kids get up to sing it, I won't fold up and cry a river when I hear them sing it!

Yes, it does have that much of a sentimentality with the words to do that to me -to Mandy too!

Don't believe me? Then you read through this -the words to the song -and see if it doesn't bring a bit of moistness to your eyes too.

I was there to hear your borning cry,
I'll be there when you are old.
I rejoiced the day you were baptized,
To see your life unfold.
I was there when you were but a child,
With a faith to suit you well
In a blaze of light you wandered off
To find where demons dwell.

I was there to hear your borning cry,
I'll be there when you are old.
I rejoiced the day you were baptized,
To see your life unfold.

When you heard the wonder of the Word,
I was there to cheer you on;
You were raised to praise the living Lord,
To whom you now belong.
If you find someone to share you time
And you join your hearts as one,
I'll be there to make your verses rhyme
From dusk till rising sun.


In the middle ages of your life,
Not too old, no longer young.
I'll be there to guide you through the night,
complete what I've begun.
When the evening gently closes in
And you shut your weary eyes,
I'll be there as I have always been
With just one more surprise.


This hymn has become the hymn of choice now for almost all baptisms in our church and as such, it is that memory Mandy has of hearing it sung when Maya and Kurtis each were baptized and if brings tears to her eyes.

For me, it is those two events as well as the words and the meanings they leave behind that spark the tears to flowing.

Somehow, I rather doubt that all the practicing to come will prevent either Mandy or me from crying a bit in church as we watch Maya singing it with the other children from the parish.



Maggie May said...

That is lovely, Jenni and I am so pleased that Maya is doing so well in the choir. It is a challenge for you too, teaching her.
That last hymn is really meaningful and it will take a bit of learning. However children are very quick to learn new things.
Good on you both!

Linda said...

My guess is that no matter WHAT Maya might be singing, it would bring a tear to both yours and Mandy's eyes as that's what proud moms and grandmoms do!

Casdok said...

A beautiful song with beautiful memories.

Danielle Says Hello said...

Thanks for stopping by and saying hello!! Of're right...I was not even able to make a dent in one day of "catching up" but at least I gave it a shot ;)..hope you are doing well.

Mary said...


It's great that Maya was accepted. I'm sure she will do a magnificient job, as she has a couple of great teachers in you and Mandy.

Would love to be there for her performance. It will be wonderful.

Have a great weekend.

Hammer said...

That is excellent. She sounds like a natural. I was the kid mumbling the words because I never had any idea what the words were or what they meant.

terri said...

What beautiful lyrics. I can see why they cause such emotion! I'll bet Maya does a fantastic job with this song too!

dr sardonicus said...

I am not familiar with that particular hymn. The lyrics are beautiful.

Mrs4444 said...

I'm glad your granddaughter had so much support; I'm sure she's loving being a part of such an important group.

Every year, our choir at the middle school sings Go Light Your World to wrap up the spring concert, and every year, I tear up from the beauty of it all (even when I don't know the kids singing it.) This year, Kendall will be singing the song for this, her last concert at the middle school. Think I'll be a puddle?! Absolutely.

Thanks for the prayers for Molly-They are making a difference!

Jocelyn said...

Oh, you can try not to cry. But bring a box of Kleenex. I mean, really? Your grand-daughter, singing those words that you've taught her? PULEASE. Don't even wear eye makeup.

By the way, I'm going to try to figure out if I can slow down or increase the size of the pop-up boxes I do on my video blogs--for you. So far, I can't see any way to adjust what You Tube has set up. But just for you, my next vlog will have no pop-ups at all!

Berni aka Vic Grace said...

Learning words in another language cannot be easy for anyone great the Maya is enjoying choir

Sandi McBride said...

The old hymns are the best it seems to me. They really meant something. I know you are so proud of Maya, tell her that I am proud of her, too! Next time maybe someone can record it?
I can't wait to see what you are sewing!! An apron maybe?

Dr.John said...

Two of my very favorite songs. We sang " Borning Cry at every Baptism at United and at other times as well.
How fortunate that you and Maya get to practice it.

Cheffie-Mom said...

Beautiful post and beautiful song!

Anonymous said...

I can see why you like the song, Jeni. It's lyrics are beautiful.

CJ xx

Anonymous said...

I learned this song with a sacred dance group, The Celebrants in Denver in the early '90's. It has been going through my head this week. I need to learn to sing it as one of those wanting God there as "I am in my old" time and a grandmother and a pastoral counselor. Thanks for your story. Donna