were i to record this old reassuring hymn BE THOU MY VISION again, i would play it much, much slower. not the andante of the recording, the tempo of singing these verses. instead, i would realize that this kind of guidance doesn’t necessarily happen in my version of time but, instead, in the universe’s version of time. much, much slower.
it was 15 years ago, back in 2004, when i sat on a leather piano bench at yamaha artist services in nyc recording this piece and the others on the hymn albums. i was 45. things seem to move a lot faster at 45; expectations are impatient, conflict needs quick resolution rather than measured, thoughtful parsing.
now, 15 years later, i realize that slow is key. the right answers don’t come fast. much as we want quick, answers take their sweet time. we ask for guidance and wish for an immediate sticky note to float down in front of us. we, d and i, can tell you, if you don’t already know, that just doesn’t happen. post-it notes were created on earth and any sticky note floating down from the heavens, the vision we so desperately seek, is invisible. it shows itself, slowly, in how things begin to fit together, how it feels. slowly.
we were at the music store in town a couple days ago. kevin, the owner and one of our favorite people to hang and chat with, asked us what was new. we laughed, not ready to share all that has been happening, but described an ever-changing picture. he asked us if it felt like “all the pieces were falling into place easily.” although i wouldn’t choose any form of the word ‘easy’ to depict our sticky-notes-requested-scenario, we can also say we haven’t been force-fitting square pegs into round holes. “then it’s supposed to be,” he said. he told the loaded-with-sticky-notes story of buying the music store, fraught with challenges, but so meant to be. it’s not in our time. our expected tempo of things happening has, we can see, nothing to do with it.
so, lento. lento would be the way to play this. slowly. taking sweet time. and rubato. freely. for in the gift of vision is sweet freedom: the ability to take a breath, recognize, regardless of our age, how little we really know, sit in purple adirondack chairs, go beyond the jetty and count on a benevolent universe.
BE THOU MY VISION from ALWAYS WITH US VOL 1 ©️ 2004 kerri sherwood