Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Music and Tears

On this All Soul’s Day I remember especially my childhood friend, Jack, in prayer. Jack and I grew up together, through all the years at St. Isidore’s grade school and St. Rita’s high school. We did many good (and yes, I’m afraid, some bad) things together. After college we grew apart in distance and in life, but I could never forget him in my memories. He will be missed.

I guess it was appropriate that on this day of memories I received in the mail and played a new CD I had ordered called “The Torch Still Burns.” Growing up in Chicago, I worked my way through college, spending late nights in the offices of the Rock Island Railroad. My dad also worked nights on another railroad. On WGN radio, in the late-night early-morning hours was the Franklyn MacCormack show, and in particular at 2AM was his “Torchlight Hour.” During the Torchlight Hour Franklyn played quiet melodies, as he softly read poetry and love songs. His deep bass voice often so vibrated the strings of your heart that there was nothing you could do but smile, breathe softly, and cry. Some nights dad would call me, or me him, to comment on a particularly well-done reading. Two grown men, talking serious words about love poems, as if we were discussing sports or other manly topics, but never speaking of the love in our hearts, or the tears on our faces. Some of the best words of love we ever spoke to each to each other were those words, on those nights, not spoken aloud. We both, I am sure, will ever remember them. I wish the CD I listened to this morning, and some of those poems being read by Franklyn, were available while dad was still alive. He would have cherished it. I will.

This day we pray for the souls of those departed, but perhaps even more importantly, we remember them, to the benefit of not only their souls, but ours. May they all rest in His peace.

Lord, you have brought many people into my life, some to influence me, make me who I am, and some for me to influence, too; I pray they are better off for having known me.

I don’t remember most of them; and they don’t remember me, but there is one thing that I do know, a memory most important: even if I meant nothing to them before, I can now. I can pray for them. And so I ask You, Lord, to look kindly on the souls of all those You brought into my life. You put them there for a reason; I pray it may have been that some small bit of Your grace may have dropped from me onto them, that they may have known You better. But even if they recalled You not, I do, and so I pray to You for the benefit of their souls, that they might be a little closer to you NOW, and near to you in all eternity. I ask this because I trust You, and all You have done for me. And because I love You, Father.

Why Do I Love You?
(As read to the Wayne King Orchestra’s “Melody of Love”)

Why do I love you?
I love you not only for what you are,
But for what I am when I am with you.
I love you not only for what you have made of yourself,
But for what you are making of me.
I love you for ignoring the possibilities of the fool in me
And for laying firm hold of the possibilities of the good in me.

Why do I love you?
I love you for closing your eyes to the discords in me,
And for adding to the music in me by worshipful listening.
I love you because you are helping me to make of the lumber of my life,
Not a tavern, but a temple,
And of the words of my every day, not a reproach, but a song.

Why do I love you?
I love you because you have done more than any creed to make me happy.
You have done it without a word, without a touch, without a sign.
You have done it by just being yourself.

Perhaps, after all, that is what love means.

I’ll Be Seeing you

I’ll be seeing you in all the old familiar places,
That this heart of mine embraces, all day through.
In that small café, the park across the way,
The children’s carousel, the chestnut tree, the wishing well.

I’ll be seeing you, in every lovely summer’s day,
In everything that’s light and gay.
I’ll always think of you just that way.

And I’ll feel you in the morning’s sun,
And when the night is new,
I’ll be looking at the moon, but I’ll be seeing you.


  1. I love "Why Do I Love You"-very moving, I have never heard that before. I recognize "I'll Be Seeing You" but it seems to be especially poignant in light of All Souls Day.

    Thanks for posting these.

  2. Ah, I'm just an old softie. Or maybe I'm just in tune enough that I hear Him speaking to me in lots of different ways.