Rain and Hope:
The last “Gratitude Project” installment
The sun did not shine. It was too wet to play.
So we sat in the house all that cold, cold wet day.
One day back in the dark ages when I was about six, I sat at our living room window watching my hope for a day outdoors melting in a steady downpour.
“WHY DOES IT ALWAYS HAVE TO RAIN?!?!?!” I said. It wasn’t really a question.
My grandmother answered anyway: “You should be thankful. You won’t have anything to eat if the farmers don’t get their rain.”
I thought about food… ice cream… Reeses Peanut Butter Cups… hamburgers and french fries… And because you need rain to make food, for the first time in my young life I considered this idea:
Today’s first song grew from that seed my grandmother planted, though it took its time doing it. A little over a year ago, my brother learned that he had multiple sclerosis. At the time, I was ignorant about MS. So I did some research, and as I read about signs and symptoms, I saw… myself. This past summer, the diagnosis was confirmed.
MS. Well then.
When something unexpected and difficult descends on your life, a comfortable faith must become a conscious faith. You have to choose to believe that a trial and a blessing can be one and the same. You have to choose gratitude instead of self-pity or resentment or any of the other un-lovely options that present themselves.
I feel so blessed that the Lord prepared me for this little bend in my road by telling me to practice gratitude. Gratitude has taught me just how near my Heavenly Father really is, every moment of my life. It has taught me that He knows my needs much better than I do. It has shown me that everything–including the hard stuff!–works together for my good.
What began as a song for a brother then became a song for us both. However, since the summer, I have become more aware of something I knew with my head but now understand with my heart: everyone–everyone!–is dealing with difficult things, visible or not. And so, “When It Rains” became a song for anyone who has to rely on faith when the rain falls.
I’m not sure how useful that song will be in a church setting, but no matter–it was something I wanted to say.
The last new song in the project is a setting of Karen Lynn Davidson’s hymn text “O Savior, Thou Who Wearest a Crown” to the beautiful old minor melody “Kingsfold,” for SATB choir (though it can also be used as a solo, as below.)
I list this one last, in the place of honor, because the sacrifice of Jesus Christ makes possible every good thing for which we give thanks, and everything we hope for. There is nothing that we do not owe to Him, because there is nothing He did not endure for us. “What praises can we offer to thank thee, Lord most high?” begins the last verse. The question is answered in the last line: “To thee our love we bring.”
Take one more look at the picture on the album cover. (See it fullscreen here.) See the gorgeous pink in the sky on the left and right? That’s rain, reflecting the sunset. And that mountain in the middle? That’s Mount Hope, in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.
Rain and Hope. The perfect combination for the final installment of this “gratitude project.”
Some random notes:
- You’ll notice that there is no free download for the vocal track of “O Savior, Thou Who Wearest a Crown.” That’s because I have to pay royalties for that track, and paying royalties on a track that you don’t get paid for yourself is really bad for the budget. (If I had a nickel for every download–just the downloads, not even counting the copies made from them–I’d be a millionaire. Seriously. So if I had to pay a nickel for every download… )
- The remaining tracks on the album are: “Lift Up Your Heart” and “Jesus, the Very Thought of Thee” (both new recordings of existing material); and “This is My Father’s World” and “He is My All (duet with Heather Prusse)” (both existing recordings that just seemed to fit the theme).
- A big “Thank You!” to everyone who contributed to this project–Jana and Sarah on Violin, Jeff for his photography, Tj and Heather for their contributions to the duets. Thanks X 1000 to James Loynes, the vocalist, for being my voice, singing my heart, and Skyping to try new material at the drop of a hat. I know some really wonderful people.