Ever since she was freshly minted, I have used old hymns to lull my baby girl to sleep or calm her down when having a spell of crying.
When I say hymns…I mean the basic tunes…not exactly the words to the classics. Oh, and these can also include Christmas carols. I take every liberty with the lyrics #1 because I do not have them all readily in my brain and #2 because, in the immortal words of Tom Selleck reading the sports page to the infant in ‘3 men and a baby‘ it’s not what you say but how you say it.
I would hold Girl just after we returned from the hospital and, as a new dad must, I would sway and rock and croon and shush until I found out what worked. That included singing these old hymns with whatever words came to mind. Just wingin’ it!
But ‘Amazing Grace‘ was on a CD someone gave us and because we had the words I would sing the real version of the song to Girly.
Now that she is bigger ‘Amazing Grace’ has become a night-time bed ritual.
Me: Time for sleeps! Can I sing you a song?
Me: What song do you…?
Girl: Amazing Grace!!
No hesitation, no qualms whatsoever…even given the fact that I am offering to sing ANY song she might like…any song at all! (As she gets older, I may begin to fear abuses of the night-song ritual…but for now she is oblivious to such power.)
And now, after a few attempts at cutting the nightly rigmarole short, she tells me: Amazing Grace…all of it!
So I sing each night. All four verses of Amazing Grace. In their entirety. Did I mention…Every Night Of My Life!
Don’t get me wrong…it is a great hymn. It has layers of meaning and history that amaze me sometimes…but every night. Come on, kiddo! Give me a break!
It has become my very own ‘Hamster Huey and the Gooey Kablooey’! (Calvin & Hobbes reference. I’d tell you to look it up, but truly this is something I feel everyone should already know…for shame, Reader!)
Well, thanks to Cape Cod Church’s habit of regularly playing a traditional hymn during the worship part of our services (no matter how jazzed up and tricked out the hymn may become) (and I like the rock & roll versions very much, BTW) I have discovered that we have been missing an entire verse.
I tapped it into my archaic computaional handheld device: my iPaq 1955rx and told the wife and child of our lapse.
Now, when I ask, Girl says: Amazing Grace!! All of it…even the parts we don’t know!
She sits up to watch me sing it, studies my mouth and face, mouths the words with me and has now memorized the ‘lost’ verse # 3:
“The Lord has promised good to me, His Word my hope ensures…
He will my shield and portion be, as long as life endures.”
I am glad I found it!
Postscript: In going back in to edit the links…I find several OTHER verses we didn’t know of…back to work!