May 8, 2016

The Writing of Elizabeth's Song

"Let Go" -- photo by Shannon M. Wilson
(This is a repost from Mother's Day 2010)

Right before the year I lost my voice, I recorded a song that had been hidden away in my files. My life is so full now of art and mothering and (occasionally artful mothering) that sometimes I even forget about the music.   But this Mother's Day I felt compelled to unearth it and share it here.  It's a song about desire, possession, and letting go.  It's about discovering, sometimes painfully, where we as mothers end and God begins, and the gradual turning over of our children.  Here's how the song came about...

I'd been singing and playing the piano FOREVER -- mostly songs others had written.  One afternoon, thoroughly bored and ready for something creatively challenging, I talked to God about my desire to write a song.  A real one -- lyrics, piano, solo cello, string section...the works.   With a chuckle and a great bit of doubt, I prayerfully asked for some divine inspiration because I had no clue where to begin.  I even offered to let Him choose the topic. I immediately had the sense I was supposed to write about John the Baptist.  Seriously?  God, did You suggest that?  Of course I pushed back a bit, because it seemed crazy and I surely must have misunderstood.  But God doesn't mumble and I quickly conceded.  

So......I read everything I could find on John the Baptist and fell in love with the story.  I decided to take some creative liberties with my "assignment" and write about him through the eyes and experience of his mother, Elizabeth.  Elizabeth was a woman who had longed all her life for a child and had nearly given up when God finally answered her prayers.  She bore a powerful, righteous, obedient leader whose purpose required that he listen to and follow his heavenly parent from a very early age. While reading her story I remembered my own difficulty getting pregnant, my multiple miscarriages, and my possessiveness over the heart and life of my firstborn.  I imagined the pull between gratitude and fear Elizabeth must have felt -- and all mothers must feel.  I knew I could write that song.

Elizabeth's Song (Child of Ours)
Music and lyrics by Shannon Martin Wilson

Is it true God?
A child of mine, God? 
Can this fallow womb hold such promise
after years of letting go?
That I might bear a man of God 
whose greatness I can't even know?

He is here, God
A child of mine, God
I guard him fiercely with my arms though it's clear he rests in You
I sing sweetly in his ear at night but he hears a mightier tune.

We share this child
Please share your plan
Will I ever see this child become a man?
Will he hold me as close when he sees who I really am?

Here he is God
This child of ours, God
Teach me how to lead him well, when to push and to go slow
Show me clearly what part I play in the loving and letting go.

Please guide him
This child of yours, God
Your voice is the one he hears when he cries out in the night
Weeping for your children's blindness, while blameless in your sight.

He calls for change, asks us to choose
Says the time is near and the water can make new
Then he baptized the One whose shoe he's not fit to loose.

I saw it all, God
This child of yours, God.
Fulfill the plan You made for him before his life had begun
Humble himself a forerunner
Make the way for the One

He called for change, asked me to choose
Said the time was here and the water made me new.
I saw my child gain his life by loving you.

I can rest now.
It is done.

Copyright 2008 / Shannon Martin Wilson