Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Ed Herrman with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Longfellow's Christmas

One evening on my way home from the hospital (the first couple weeks of November) I felt wracked with torment thinking of what lay ahead in our future.  My heart was heavy and I was out of control.  I had lost hope and was feeling total despair and yet I knew I should be able to cling to the Lord for peace, but I wasn't finding it.  I know where to turn for peace and I knew it was my fault that I wasn't finding it..., I was struggling and needed help.   I called the bishop to have him give me a blessing, and after the blessing I was able to find the peace I needed. (I was almost home and didn't want to turn around and go back to have Terry give me this blessing because I was trying to get home to be with Anthony.)

I shared my experience with Terry the next day and in tears he recited the words -  "...and in despair I bowed my head, there is no peace on earth I said..."  and we visited about it briefly even though he wasn't strong enough to say too much.  We had a tender moment together that I will remember and cherish forever.

This song seemed to fit my feelings and circumstances and I felt like I could connect.  Though my story and Longfellow's story are quite different, the despair and grief were very strong for me that night, and the peace that came later was equally strong.

My internet search led me here  where I found the video clip above (we had watched as it was broadcast a few years ago), and to this info below:  

The great American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow is revered for his classic literary works. His poem “Christmas Bells” has become one of our most well-known and beloved Christmas carols, “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.” What is less known, though, is the story behind the poem.
Reeling from the tragic death of his wife and the war wounds of his son, Longfellow penned the words to “Christmas Bells” during one of the darkest times in American history. And while the words of the poem reflect his obvious despair and grief, it is the triumphant message of “peace on earth, good will to men” for which this song — and Longfellow's personal story — is remembered.

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day has always been one of my favorite Christmas songs, but this year it seemed to speak my language even more.   I listened to it several times on the radio in my traveling to and from the hospital those two weeks and when trying to choose what songs to sing for Terry's funeral I knew this had to be one of them.  There is one difference as I hear it this year - it brings me to tears as I think about my experience with its message. It will forever hold a special place in my heart ..., right next to my feelings for Terry, because it is very much a part of our relationship.

Added 3 January 2015
I just learned that Ed Herrman passed away 31 Dec. 2014 after a fight with brain cancer - more info here.  (the day after I wrote this post)


Ellen said...

This Christmas Carol, also one of my favorites, will forever have a new and deeper meaning for me. Thank you for this post....you had started to share this with me one of the times we were visiting so I'm glad to hear and know the rest of the story. May peace and happiness return to your lives with the passing of time. I love you all so much.

Becky Noftle said...

I was just telling Zoe the story of Longfellow s wife and him writing the lyrics to this song. It makes it some much more meaningful now, because I know it touches your heart.

Louise said...

What an amazing video. Thanks for sharing! I pray for peace and healing in your heart as you go forward this coming year.