lenten journal: still singing in the key of lent


We’ve had a grey and somehow hopeful day here in Durham. As the rain stopped, people seemed ready to wipe off benches and chairs and fill the sidewalks and patios for supper. Ginger and I met friends for coffee that turned into dinner and I came home humming, ready to add to my on going soundtrack for the season. First: Tom Waits singing “Time” —

and it’s time time time
and it’s time time time
and it’s time time time that you loved
and it’s time time time

David Rawlings wrote a song made popular by Old Crow Medicine Show that pulls me every time I hear it.

so while you sit and whistle Dixie with your money and your power
I can hear the flowers growing in the rubble of the tower
I hear leaders quit their lying, I hear babies quit their crying
I hear soldiers quit their dying, one and all
I hear them all, I hear them all, I hear them all

Mumord and Sons write songs that are informed by both the grace and gravity of life. “Roll Away Your Stone” is one of my favorites.

it seems that all my bridges have been burned,
but, you say that’s exactly how this grace thing works
it’s not the long walk home
that will change this heart,
but the welcome I receive with the restart

Patty Griffin is one who always seems to make my song list, and tonight is no exception. This is from her Downtown Church record, “Little Fire.”

my friend, you know me and my family
you’ve seen us wandering through these times
you’ve seen us in weakness and in power
you’ve seen us forgetful and unkind

all that I want is one who knows me
a kind hand on my face when I weep
and I’d give back these things I know are meaningless
for a little fire beside me when I sleep

“Before I Go” is a deep cut from John Hiatt. I have come to love this song for it’s persistent and tenacious hope:

I will try, but I will stumble
and I will fly, he told me so
proud and high or low and humble
many miles before I go
many miles before I go

Our closing song tonight is one that has had a long history in our family: Nanci Griffith’s “These Days In An Open Book.”

these days my life is an open book
missing pages I cannot seem to find
these days your face in my memory
is in a folded hand of grace against these times

And onward through these days we go . . .



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