I chose this hymn because it had been a while since I last posted one. (Still alive. Thanks for the emails). I wanted it to be a kick in the pants for me to get back on these every month. I feel better when I’m working on new arrangements each month. This hymn makes me grateful. Grateful for music. Grateful that I’m able to create it. Grateful I’m able to share it. Grateful that there are people who want to hear it (besides my mom). It makes me want to share more. That’s why the arrangement builds with each verse. It’s the processes of recognizing our blessings and becoming resolved to share them and to help those in need.
I also learned this week that this is my mom’s favorite hymn. I had no idea. She said she can’t sing it without getting emotional. Here’s why…
On November 28, 1988, our home was hit by an F4 tornado in the middle of the night. I was nine. Old enough to know what was going on, but too young to understand how devastating it really was.
We lived in Raleigh, NC (still do) and tornados just don’t happen here. Especially F4 tornados. So my young little brain never even considered what would happen if one came through.
I still have vivid memories of it. I remember the second I woke up as Mom was running down the hall screaming for us all to get to the basement. The sound was deafening. By the time were in the basement, it was completely silent. I remember Mom and Dad telling us five kids that we might walk back upstairs and the house could be gone. It wasn’t. I remember going upstairs and thinking nothing seemed too different, other than a 2×4 sticking through the wall.
Then I went outside.
It was like a bomb went off. Wet pink insulation was everywhere. Most trees were on their sides. We had around 50 tall loblolly pine trees in our yard before. Nearly all of them were leveled, criss crossing our house, except for the one that came through my sister’s window onto her bed a few seconds after dad grabbed her.
We were lucky. We weren’t in the direct path. But most of our neighbors were. And their houses were gone. Our story pales in comparison to theirs.
In looking up more info this week, I stumbled across the live helicopter news footage from that morning. Our house only comes into the picture a few times. The helicopter is hovering almost directly over our house for most of it.
Mom said she can’t sing this hymn without thinking of the tornado; without remembering the destruction it caused; without remembering how grateful she felt knowing “My roof’s safe shelter overhead.”
Because I have been given much, I too must give;
Because of thy great bounty Lord, each day I live;
I shall divide my gifts from thee
With every brother that I see
Who has the need of help from me.
Because I have been sheltered, fed by thy good care;
I cannot see another’s lack and I not share;
My glowing fire, my loaf of bread,
my roof’s safe shelter overhead
That he too may be comforted.
Because I have been blessed by thy great love dear Lord;
I’ll share thy love again according to thy word;
I shall give love to those in need,
I’ll show that love by word and deed;
Thus shall my thanks be thanks in deed.