I’ve been thinking about a mother and her teen daughter with whom I’ve worked in my psychology practice. They had lost their husband and father ten years previously to cancer. What I remember most was the mother’s comments about their grief as a mother and daughter, that they loved their new family (she had remarried and had another child) and that they were capable of happiness. But each day they grieve for the loss of a father and husband and the grief co-exists alongside the happiness.

I feel in my own grief process regarding my breast cancer that my efforts to integrate it into the rest of my life experience is resulting in this kind of accepting co-existence. I am still working on it, but I feel close to the next place I need to be in this. And I know that I will additional opportunities to grieve my experience. (Our brain is kind and often gives us breaks in between periods of grief.) And I know that I will have other losses and challenges in my life that will test my fortitude and serenity.

But today, I am reminded of my favorite hymn. I don’t really write about my religious beliefs. And part of that is because people fight about it. I don’t need to have people fighting on my blog. Another part of it is that I really haven’t managed to hammer out all of the details of my beliefs. And suspect that I never will. That God is love and that we are here to care for one another, are my central beliefs, which I suspect will never change. And I will always love this hymn. I hope that whatever you believe that you will appreciate the message of hope, love, and resilience.

My life flows on in endless song;
Above earth’s lamentation,
I hear the sweet, tho’ far-off hymn
That hails a new creation;
Thro’ all the tumult and the strife
I hear the music ringing;
It finds an echo in my soul—
How can I keep from singing?

What tho’ my joys and comforts die?
The Lord my Saviour liveth;
What tho’ the darkness gather round?
Songs in the night he giveth.
No storm can shake my inmost calm
While to that refuge clinging;
Since Christ is Lord of Heaven and Earth,
How can I keep from singing?

I lift my eyes; the cloud grows thin;
I see the blue above it;
And day by day this pathway smooths,
Since first I learned to love it;
The peace of Christ makes fresh my heart,
A fountain ever springing;
All things are mine since I am his—
How can I keep from singing?

(The history and text for this hymn can be found here.)

(Enya recorded a lovely version of this hymn in the 90’s though I prefer to hear my mother’s and perhaps I will be able to twist her arm into singing it for my blog.)