Living a Full Life
May 1, 2021

Music Moves Me

The power of music to move you.

This morning when I awoke, there was a song in my heart that I started singing even before I took that first step out of bed and over my sleeping dog.  It’s not unusual for me to wake up with a song running through my mind – it could be anything from a movie I watched the night before or a song I heard on the radio that I can’t shake (think “Baby Shark”). On Sunday mornings, I always start the day with a song.  Usually, it’s a gospel hymn that I used to sing with my mother when I was a little girl, and later, one that I sang to my girls when they were toddlers before they realized that I have absolutely no musical talent. None. Almost always, it is one of two songs, “Pass Me Not (Oh Gentle Savior)” sung by any gospel choir or “Precious Lord,” sung by Mahalia Jackson. But today isn’t Sunday. It’s Saturday. And, today, the song running beautifully through my mind is known by some as an old slave gospel, and others consider it an old African American spiritual that later became the anthem of the Civil Rights Movement.  I’m talking about “We Shall Overcome.” In reality, the history of this song is not particularly clear.  By most historical accounts, it was first sung and made famous by Peter Seeger, the same artist who recorded “This Land is Your Land.” Seeger has a beautiful voice, and he is neither the descendant of slaves nor an African American spiritual leader. But his is considered by many an important voice of the Civil Rights Movement because of this song.  

I’m not sure why this particular song is in my heart today, but I decided not to overthink it and lean into it instead.  Perhaps my psyche is still working out all that has happened over the past year, and especially the last several days regarding racial and social justice.  Or maybe, I’m working through the news from my cancer surgeon that we still aren’t finished just yet. It’s May 2021, and it has now been four years and three months since I was diagnosed with cancer and began living with its after-effects.  But, today, none of that matters.  All that matters today is that I’m going to let this song run through my mind all day; I’m going to revel in it; I’m going to let it lift me, and I’m going to share it with you so that it might lift you too.  Maybe you are struggling with something, and it will bring you solace, peace, joy, or whatever it is you might need.  The lyrics are below, but you can find here one of my favorite renditions of the song.  When you watch it, I think you’ll see why this choir’s virtual version is special –at least to me.  Enjoy!

We Shall Overcome, original author unknown

We shall overcome, we shall overcome,

We shall overcome someday;

Oh, deep in my heart, I do believe,

We shall overcome someday.

The Lord will see us through, The Lord will see us through,

The Lord will see us through someday;

Oh, deep in my heart, I do believe,

We shall overcome someday.

We're on to victory, We're on to victory,

We're on to victory someday;

Oh, deep in my heart, I do believe,

We're on to victory someday.

We'll walk hand in hand, we'll walk hand in hand,

We'll walk hand in hand someday;

Oh, deep in my heart, I do believe,

We'll walk hand in hand someday.

We are not afraid, we are not afraid,

We are not afraid today;

Oh, deep in my heart, I do believe,

We are not afraid today.

The truth shall make us free, the truth shall make us free,

The truth shall make us free someday;

Oh, deep in my heart, I do believe,

The truth shall make us free someday.

We shall live in peace, we shall live in peace,

We shall live in peace someday;

Oh, deep in my heart, I do believe,

We shall live in peace someday.

 

Be well my friends.