Let Virtue Garnish All My Thoughts Unceasingly
About the Song
This song was written as a resource to support the 2007 LDS Mutual (youth program) theme. I feel that I deserve several pats on the back for this one. Garnish? Unceasingly? Wonderful, descriptive words, but a serious challenge to work into a lyric.
This particular scriptural verse is one of my favorites, dubious singability notwithstanding. For years the word “garnish” conjured up mental images of parsley. (One year our grade school decided to infuse some culture into the student body by decorating our lunch trays with parsley. I don’t know how much culture was infused, but we certainly didn’t eat it.) One day it occurred to me that there must be something more to “garnishing” one’s thoughts than just decorating them. Perhaps there were some nuances to the word that were more common 200 years ago than today? So I did some research on the origins of the word. Here are a few of the interesting tidbits I gleaned:
“Garnish” comes to us from an Old French root meaning “to defend, to prepare, to furnish or equip.” It is also related to the word “warn.” From the same root, we get our word “garment.” In the 13th Century, the word found its way into English, with the meaning “to defend oneself” or “to arm oneself”–as well as the first hints of the parsley usage. As the decorative connotations emerged, the word was used to mean the decoration of anything… persons, homes, etc., but its usage later became narrower until it reached the point it’s at today–specifically a decoration for the plate. There’s more, but since not everyone is as crazy for words as I am, I’ll spare you.
At any rate, the word is well chosen. Virtue in its broadest sense can defend our thoughts, can prepare our minds, can be a weapon against the evils we may encounter. It will also make our hearts and minds more beautiful and acceptable to the Lord.
Everywhere I go; in all I do and say
Standing close beside me, there to guide me day by day
Is One who knows my heart, all my silent fears
One who hears unspoken prayers, who shares my joy and tears
And in His presence I am strong
As I make His word my law
As I learn to live by every truth He teaches me
And my confidence grows sure
As I keep my spirit pure
And let virtue garnish all my thoughts unceasingly
Every test I face, I will overcome
As the Lord upholds me and enfolds me in His love
For He knows my needs; He will walk with me
Comfort and protect me, and direct me patiently
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