Just a Closer Walk with Thee

It amazes me how grief works. I have found myself in good spirits for a while now, but it seems that it doesn’t take much to set me off.

Reality has set in. I know that Dad is gone, and there is no getting him back. I’m okay with that. I’m prepared (at least, I think I am) to not see him at holidays this year. I know we’re not going Trick-or-Treating at his place, where we’re sure to get full-sized candy bars.

However, I find myself missing Dad in the small things. This week, I bought some Honey Crisp apples for $1.69 a pound. No big deal, but a purchase like that is something that I’d gloat about. Dad faithfully paid up to $4 a pound for those, because they were worth that to him.

I had also made a sort of game of buying Dad music for Christmas. Anyone who knew him was probably familiar with his music collection. He had the too-big iPod, the Bose home stereo, countless CDs, and a growing collection of concert DVDs. He already had most of what he wanted, but I liked to try to broaden his horizon. This year, I think I may have been able to do it.

It probably comes as no surprise to you, but I’ve got a penchant for the obscure. My musical tastes vary as much as the Colorado weather. My poor kids can’t keep up. Usually, they think my music is either too heavy or too boring. Anyway, I was lurking on NoiseTrade trying to find something new and interesting and struck gold.

(If you’re not familiar with NoiseTrade, it is set up to distribute free music legally. Artists can offer up a single, an entire album, or their complete collection. The user has the option to tip the artist if they like what they hear. It’s a great way for independent bands to make a name for themselves.)

So this year, Dad would have received a burned CD of The Followers. They have got a very classic sound, something that would have been considered new and hip 40 years ago. I’ve fallen hard for this band, and spend a lot of my time listening to them. Jodi is even starting to warm up to them (at least, I’d like to think so).

Consider yourselves fortunate to receive an early Christmas present, seeing as I can’t give it to Dad. You can download the complete album here (just punch in your email address). Seriously, this is a great spin! And it fits the blog post today, which is a nice bonus.

You see, The Followers covered the classic hymn “Just a Closer Walk with Thee.” Admittedly, it’s far from my favorite track on the album, but it is how I got to this point, and it is quite good. If you’d like to check them out, I’d invite you to start the journey the same place I did. Track one is titled “Wounded Healer.” Here ya go:

Anyhow, let’s get to the hymn. This is a familiar hymn, but the history is surprisingly thin. The best I can determine is that it was written in the late 1940s, and no one knows who wrote it. That being said, it’s absolutely a classic. Most people reading this have already heard this song. Put it up next to “The Kneeling Christian,” and you’ll have a great bit of literature written by an unknown.

It truly goes to show that one person can make an impact. Even an unknown person. You can read the original song lyrics here.

Sometimes my zeal gets the best of me.
Sprinting ahead, I go it alone.
It’s likely that I’ll lose it,
Fall to the ground, and
Wait for my Lord to lift me.

Sometimes I get distracted and slack.
I’ll rest in the shade when I shouldn’t.
Forsaking my rest in Christ,
I find rest in myself,
And am lost ‘til He backtracks to me.

The path of life is as lonely as I like.
I can run ahead or lag behind.
But where I want to be,
Stride for stride, is
Next to my Savior.

The road, though long, is ending.
A finish I’m sure to find.
My Jesus and I will take rest in
His Kingdom eternal,
And I’ll be forever at His side.

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