Sunday, July 22, 2007

Ode to Joyful and Loving Families

Today in church we sang my husband's favorite hymn: Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee (aka Ode to Joy).

Joyful, Joyful we adore Thee
God of Glory, Lord of Love

It just so happens that this week we also have visiting us a dear friend who is the artistic director of a theatre I worked with in Los Angeles. We worked on a show together for elementary school students teaching tolerance, and we happened to sing a song to the same tune, called Ode to Parents (by the fabulous Mr. Billy Aronson). It used to be I couldn't sing the old hymn without thinking of this newer version because I was performing it on a regular basis in cafetoriums around southern California. But it has actually been quite a while since I've even thought of it. Until today, of course, when I began grinning wildly in the midst of singing the hymn.

One or two, a mom and dad, or mom and mom , or three or two,
All that matters in a parent is they love and care for you.
Man, woman, father or mother, long as they're glad to be around,
Who cares if they make their pee-pee standing up or sitting down?

(insert a room full of giggling students here)

And it struck me, in the way that things strike you many years after you've stopped even thinking about them, that the tie between this old hymn and this silly song about parents is more than just an old Beethoven tune. It's love. The thing that has always, always, always, impressed me about God is that God Is Love (1 John 4:8) And the most I have ever understood that unconditional, all consuming love is when I look at my daughter, my child.

There are lots of different ways to be a parent, to make a family, and that's what Ode to Parents is all about. A family does not have to be a mom, a dad, 2.5 children and a pet. A family is made when any adult loves and cares for a child under their protection. A family is born of Love.

Thou art giving and forgiving,
ever blessing, ever blest,
well-spring of the joy of living,
ocean depth of happy rest!
Thou our Father, Christ our brother,
all who live in love are thine;
teach us how to love each other,
lift us to the joy divine.


jen said...

it's this faith that i've misplaced along the way, this ability to toss yourself in and churn around in it, no matter what faith it is. lovely reading about this joy in you.

thailandchani said...

I like this post. It's so true that there are as many configurations of "family" as there are individuals who form them.

I absolutely believe this.



slouching mom said...

This was the song to which I walked down the aisle. It's one of my favorites...

Thanks for reminding me.

Christine said...

"A family is made when any adult loves and cares for a child under their protection."

Yes! This is so, so true.

lovely post.

Mad Hatter said...

When I had the faith, this was the hymn I belted out. It really is a great ole protestant ditty in'nt it?

niobe said...

Now if only I could hear how the hymn sounds...

Aliki2006 said...

I agree--what a wonderful sentiment that's echoed here in this post. I love that hymn, too, although it's been quite awhie since I last heard it.

thirtysomething said...

Families. I agree so much with what you said. THere is no "typical" or "ideal" anymore. Well, there may be, but more of us are realizing that a family is what you make it to be.
Lovely post.

Oh, The Joys said...

I think that is the finest hymn of them all -- but then I would, wouldn't I?

Karen said...

ever blessing, ever blest

my favorite line of that old favorite hymn, reminds me to keep going back to that well.

PunditMom said...

I still have faith in families, no matter what they look like.

ironic1 said...

My kids went to Disneyworld this past May with their two grandmas. They will always remember that week and I know Joyce and Mary Ellen's love will never strike my children as odd or weird, because it is love. And if children know anything, it's where to find love.

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