Music grew me.
Always in the house there was music playing. I learned the melodies of operas and symphonies through osmosis – they soaked into my soul as givens.
One of my favorite records was Peter Pan, the Mary Martin version. I can still see the green record cover with a Mary-Martin-in-tights and attitude. The songs were the very best to sing along with, since they were full of bravado and wistfulness, both.
One of my favorites on the album is called “Tender Shepherd”. It is the lullaby sung to the Darling children as they nestle into beds in the safety of the nursery. Their mother seems to intuit, as she sings this song with heart and soul, that her children are soon to fly from her into lands and life far from the power of her tending. It grabbed me then, and does now, as prayer: Dear God, watch over the sweetness of hearts precious beyond the telling. Please.
No one ever told me that having children would require such courage. To love so fiercely and know so fully that life has bumps that will jar our tender lambkins is impossibly painful.
And it is so, this pain.
So we sing. We conjure up days gone by when we could sit by bedsides and songpray our children to the warm of sleep. We remember the smell of their heads and the gentle of the love that wrapped our lullaby times.
And when they are grown, and the challenges they face are grown with them, we sing on, sure that the universe and our God hear the imploring of our hearts:
Tender Shepherd, guard our children, we pray. Please.