so I shall sing


My father and I shared a love of hymns.

Scan 8Actually, it would probably be truer to say I learned to love hymns in large part because of my father. Though he rarely sang outside of the house, he loved the songs of faith. One of his favorites in his later years was Gloria Gaither’s “I Then Shall Live,” which was written to the tune Finlandia. The tune is also a favorite of mine, but to other lyrics: first, “Be Still My Soul” and then “This is My Song.”

August 3 marks the second anniversary of my dad’s death. Today in church I began scribbling lyrics of my own to the tune and I finished them tonight. Here is my offering with gratitude for my father and how he taught me to love songs that speak to my heart.

so I shall sing

so I shall sing
although my heart is broken
a song of hope
informed by grief and pain
a song of love
that knows the path of losses
a song of joy
though sadness still remains
so I shall sing
this song as old as mountains
with all my heart
I’ll join the deep refrain

grief’s melody
has colored all creation
yet there is love
that lasts beyond the grave
both things are true
the hope and, yes, the heartache
their harmony
the music of our days
so I shall sing
and pray my heart stays open
to loss and love
and grace that can amaze



  1. My sentiments exactly, fellow struggler. I wondered today how you were doing. Glad to know that the scribbling pen continues to bring life to the ebbs and flows of even grief and loss. Love you. Hope to chat soon.

  2. Milton, these lyrics are beautiful – a wonderful tribute to your dad, and a gift to many who struggle with grief and loss. You prove, once again, my understanding of my Higher Power as Cosmic Composter – taking all that is ugly, painful and evil and, with the Wind, Water, and Sunlight of the Spirit, composting and converting the “yuck” of life into fresh and vibrant loam in which new life can grow. Out of your loss and pain, beauty and comfort. Can’t get much better than that, eh? May your dad’s memories swirl around you and comfort you, like a constant cool breeze on a hot summer day.

  3. Thank you Milton. I too love the old hymns. My mother was the church organist – I sat in a small chair next to the organ for many years four services a week. “This is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior all the day long …” May our Savior’s comfort run deep in your places of grief this day.

  4. Ah, Milton! So beautiful! I think I will follow Leah’s lead and put it in my hymnal! Thank you and your dad who was and us your muse.

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