I’m of several minds with this hymn today.
My first thought: I wish I knew the tune, commissioned for STLT and written by Libby Larsen. It might make a more meaningful connection to the lyrics possible. As it was, I was plunking out notes on my phone’s keyboard for all three verses.
My second thought: This is reminiscent of the line in the Sermon n the Mount (Matthew 6:24): “So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” And more, it’s reminiscent of the Timothy Wright song “Trouble Don’t Last Always.”
Nay, do not grieve though life be full of sadness,
dawn will not veil its splendor for your grief,
nor spring deny their bright appointed beauty
to lotus blossom and ashoka leaf.
Nay, do not pine though life be marred with trouble,
time will not pause or tarry on its way;
today that seems so long, so strange, so bitter,
will soon be some forgotten yesterday.
Nay, do not weep; new hopes, new dreams, new faces,
joy yet unspent of all the unborn years,
will prove your heart a traitor to its sorrow
and make your eyes unfaithful to their tears.
My third thought is more complex: it’s really hard, in these trouble times, to not grieve, to not be full of sadness and tears, along with the anger and determination. And I don’t think we should dishonor the need for some to continue their mourning, if it’s going to help them through. And. It’s not just that there’s beauty in life that we must look to – not just ‘new hopes, new dreams, new faces, joy yet unspent’ – but it’s getting up off the mat, turning the grief into determination, turning the sadness into action, that will bring a new dawn.
And it’s hard. Lord it’s hard. I don’t want to stop being angry and sad – and I don’t think I have to. As Nairu says, “life is full of sadness”… but here’s another hymn asking us to notice the joys despite the sorrows.
May we see through the tears and notice the richness of the life that it is we’re fighting for.
Photo (with credit on the image) is of ashoka leaves.