One thing about the daily rush is that it zaps a person’s strength. Sometimes our hurrying is a helpful push in the sprint. But many of the folks I know are running endurance races, and, if in there’s a chance to think about running the race at all, it is a wish to try and cross the finish line alive.
That’s what the apostle Paul said in the second letter to Timothy, answering his prayer mid-race from the Book of the Acts of the Apostles. Having (I imagine frequently!) gasped, “…if I may only finish the race…”, at some point Paul’s fear melts away, in his case at the end of his life, and he ends with words of assurance, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (Acts, 20:20; 2 Tim. 4:6-8)
Sometimes, we need to not think about why we’re rushing, we just need something to help us keep keepin’ on. Lots of music does just this, and I encourage you to sing what keeps your strength for the endurance race and buoys your spirit up from the stormy seas.
The spiritual “Guide My Feet” is one of the songs that pulls my spirit up from the drowning. Like a lot of this endurance music, the pace is easily changeable so that as one’s energy increases, the song may speed up as we reenter the sprint. A great example of this kind of restoration is in this video from the First Presbyterian Church of Brooklyn Choir:
Like other spirituals, “Guide My Feet” kept a people alive and going though slavery, Jim Crow, and the Civil Rights Movement. Thanks to Civil Rights Movement, the song jumped the musical red line and has made a difference in the lives of all kinds of people who seek the necessary endurance and reassurance to keep going.
New music is being written that does the same work. I favor ones I can sing acapella, so they’re pretty simple. When I’m weary and struggling to breathe, I don’t want something complicated that draws even more energy from me. That’s one of the reasons I often find myself singing the Reverend Mary Grigolia’s “Safe Passage”, which she recently listed as a song of the month, (http://www.marygrigolia.com/Songs_of_the_Month.html ). One of the ways we help each other in this journey is sharing good music, and supporting the people who brought that help and hope to us.
If you find you’re in the endurance race, keep breathing. Pick up the song, and let it pace you. Gather that strength the song brings and let it carry you forward. There is rest for the weary and unexpected strength offered in these familiar paces.