My mom’s favorite primary song is “I Often Go Walking.” When I was little, she told me why. She said the lyrics were written by a daughter who wasn’t close to her mother. My mom said of the daughter, “But she was grateful for the love of beauty she saw in her mother, even if that was all she ever learned.”
I grew up with a mother who taught me that there is always a story I may not know yet–behind a song lyric, behind a fragile mother or daughter, behind blue blossoms and meadows. She taught me how the story behind it all can make all the difference in how we see it. (I think I learned my love of stories from a mother who all my life taught me to how look for them.)
This morning when I told my mom that I was feeling lost–where does God want me? what does God want me to do?–and that sometimes I feel so little confidence in what I can do, she said, “But what if you never knew what that was like?” There is always a story behind what we are feeling, what we are learning.
Right now the sun has gone down and I am sitting here alone in a rocking chair, thinking about my mother of almost 23 years. The window is open and I am listening to the rain outside on the pavement that hasn’t stopped for hours. The new home I live in (that earlier smelled like paint and carpet) smells like rain now. Mom, I know if you were here you would love the smell too (and the way the rain shines in the light from the street lamps and how I can see it all glow from two stories up in a small room with a book shelf and a warm blanket and a small lamp that you gave me five years ago).
Earlier I played primary songs for you. Your favorites. The piano was dusty and sticky because I hadn’t played for a while and it is still stuck down in the basement. But I wanted to play for you. “Beautiful Savior,” the song you taught all us primary kids with all those pictures. “Where Love Is,” “I Pray in Faith,” “When He Comes Again,” “I Feel My Savior’s Love,” all songs that remind me of you. And I played every mom song. Then I played “I Often Go Walking,” and I sang it. For you. Even though your voice is much deeper and richer than mine, I sang with the voice you gave me and it was quiet because my voice is always quiet, but I sang it out loud because you always taught me to sing with the voice I was given. It’s been a while since I’ve sung, but I remember all those times you and Dad taught me about light and how it doesn’t belong anywhere near a bushel. I’ll try to remember that the next time I feel lost, before you have to remind me that you made me and watched me and let me grow up in so much light–How could I ever go too far wrong with all of that behind me and still, always still with me?