If I Could Hear My Mother Pray Again

How sweet and happy seem those days of which I dream,
When memory recalls them now and then!
And with what rapture sweet my weary heart would beat,
If I could hear my mother pray again.
  • Refrain:
    If I could hear my mother pray again,
    If I could hear her tender voice as then!
    So glad I’d be, ’twould mean so much to me,
    If I could hear my mother pray again.

She used to pray that I on Jesus would rely,
And always walk the shining gospel way;
So trusting still His love, I seek that home above,
Where I shall meet my mother some glad day.
Within the old home-place her patient, smiling face
Was always spreading comfort, hope and cheer;
And when she used to sing to her eternal King,
It was the songs the angels loved to hear.
Her work on earth is done, the life-crown has been won,
And she will be at rest with Him above;
And some glad morning she, I know, will welcome me
To that eternal home of peace and love.

Lyrics by John Whitfield “Whit” Vaughan (1879-1945)

As Sung by Ben Harper & The Blind Boys of Alabama

Dying Young, Violently and Black

I have posted twice on the death of professional football player Sean Taylor. But I feel compelled to discuss it once again, from a slightly different perspective.

One of my favorite columnists Michael Wilbon is being lambasted in the blogosphere for his column titled “Dying Young, Black”. His colleague at the Washington Post, Leonard Shapiro is getting his share also for “Taylor’s Death Is Tragic but Not Surprising”.

Both Wilbon and Shapiro are my age, in fact Wilbon and I were college chums. While these two “old school” journalists’ columns may have been tactless and untimely, they are clear expressions of the frustration so many of us “old school” folks feel.

We find ourselves in a time when young men, especially young black men, glorify and glamorize violence. They “embrace it, claim it, and refuse to divorce themselves from it,” regardless of their success or new circumstances. It appears throughout our culture via music, TV and language, and manifests itself in real lives and deaths:

Black Americans accounted for 13 percent of the U.S. population in 2005 but were the victims of about 15 percent of all of the nonfatal violent crime and about 49 percent of all homicides, according too the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS). Blacks were victims of an estimated 805,000 nonfatal violent crimes (rape, sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault and simple assault) and of about 8,000 homicides during 2005.

When I learned that Taylor had been shot and critically wounded, I discussed it with my 14 year old who is a big fan, then offered and posted a prayer for Taylor and his family. As I watched the coverage after his death I heard quotes like, “A ridiculous and unnecessary tragedy” and “This is the worst imaginable tragedy,”

All true, but what about…

  • 240 homicides in Miami-Dade County last year, 46 of whom were teenagers or younger
  • 170 killings in the District of Columbia in 2007
  • a 102 per 100,000 Population Homicide Rate for Black Males 18-24 (by comparison, it is 12.2 for white males of the same age)

All of those statistics are some mother’s child. While I am sure the outpouring of grief and shock in response to Taylor’s death is heartfelt and sincere, I am also confident that were it not for his prowess on the football field, Taylor’s passing would probably have been just another head counted in the growing tally of dead young black men.

Count Your Blessings

Count Your BlessingsCount your blessings, this is such a simple charge. Yet in the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, stopping to be grateful and count our blessings is something we tend to overlook.

Counting our blessings, instead of the losses and focusing on the positive aspects of life can help in shifting attitudes and life challenges. Sonja Lyubomirsky, an experimental psychologist at UC Riverside, found that people who once a week wrote down five things they were grateful for were happier.

Thanksgiving is a perfect time to stop, remember to count your blessings, give thanks and be grateful for all your blessings.

~ Les

 

When I’m worried and I can’t sleep
I count my blessing instead of sheep
And I fall asleep, counting my blessings

If you’re worried and you can’t sleep
Just count your blessings instead of sheep
And you’ll fall asleep counting your blessings.

~~ Irving Berlin

 

Count your blessings
Name them one by one
Count your blessings
See what God has done

~~ Johnson Oatman

Some Pain Medicine