Contraband Song

I have few childhood memories of being in a church. My father took my sister and I to a Presbyterian Church for a few weeks. I was bored.

He gave us each a dime – always a dime – to add to the collection dish when it came around. But though he was willing to give two dimes, he never gave his heart… so I got no practical spiritual teaching from my family of origin.

My mother was atheist agnostic, and still is. I got the impression that she made this decision as a teenager after a prayer wasn’t answered. Maybe I’m a romantic, but I’ve always imagined she prayed for some young love to return from the war.

[Update 12/27/12 – At Thanksgiving dinner this year, Mom said she saw this blog and does not consider herself an atheist! Surprise to me! She says she’s more of an agnostic, so I got that wrong.]

My grandmother, who we called ‘Nanny’ or ‘Nan,’ was a non-churghgoing Christian but sent my sister and I to sunday school a few times behind my mother’s back. This was easy enough for her to do as my sister and I spent many weekends and vacations with my grandparents. A few weeks later I was singing my favorite new song, Jesus Loves Me, when my mother had an unanticipated outburst.

“Where did you learn that song?” She was furious!

Nan’s secret came out and Sunday School was no more.

This memory shows me I always had a spiritually receptive heart and that I love music. At the very least, I love simple songs that ingratiate themselves into my subconscious then bubble up and escape from my lips.

It shows that at one time in my life I was able to sing forth with joy, without worrying about who was listening. That I chose a comforting song with a lovely, lilting melody and attempted to duplicate it in my little girl singing voice.

I was born to sing! …To express my heart with song. …To fill the world with joy.

I do have an ability to write songs, to sing, play guitar, and expand in that sensitive musical direction.

Update: I finally became a Christian in 2013, the day after my sixty-first birthday. I was baptized on July 4, 2014.

Jesus loves me! this I know,
For the Bible tells me so.
Little ones to Him belong;
they are weak but He is strong.

Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
The Bible tells me so.

Lots more Jesus Loves Me lyrics and soundfile here: Jesus Loves Me.

Image Credit: Jesus and the Children, from Standard Bible Story Readers, Book One, by Lillie A. Faris. Illustrators for the book were O.A. Stemler and Bess Bruce Cleaveland. Published in 1925. Public Domain.