Sunday October 22 was Reid’s birthday. The day of, I went to my parent’s house, and we celebrated with a nice meal and a little fall farm outing. The day before, though, I was out of sorts. Some years it hits me more than others. I turned to the one of the most significant avenues of healing over these last few years: music, sacred music in particular. I couldn’t shake the lyrics of one hymn, and so I dove into it headlong that afternoon and wrote a simple arrangement for ukulele and violin. I recorded it later with my composing software playback as the electronic sounding violin and me playing the ukulele. High tech recording, clearly. The quality is terrible, but I’m sharing it below anyway because it somehow placated the unsettled feeling that hung over that weekend.
I’m also sharing the lyrics to the entire hymn. I pulled out three verses for this arrangement, but all five of them are rich, particularly in those moments when the darkness deepens.
Abide with Me
Lyrics by Henry Francis Lyte
1 Abide with me: fast falls the eventide;
the darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.
2 Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
earth’s joys grow dim, its glories pass away.
Change and decay in all around I see.
O Lord who changes not, abide with me.
3 I need your presence every passing hour.
What but your grace can foil the tempter’s power?
Who like yourself my guide and strength can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, O abide with me.
4 I fear no foe with you at hand to bless,
though ills have weight, and tears their bitterness.
Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, your victory?
I triumph still, if you abide with me.
5 Hold now your Word before my closing eyes.
Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.
Heaven’s morning breaks and earth’s vain shadows flee;
in life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.