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On the Side - March 2014

Song of My Soul
by Robin Kaufmann

Each of my children has a song. My children love their songs and claim them as their own. I’m not exactly sure how each song landed with each particular child, but each song suits the child who hears it most often. Sophie, for example, is my sunshine:
            “You are my sunshine, my only sunshine.
            You make me happy, when skies are gray.” *

My dear girl has heard “You are My Sunshine” since infancy. I still sing it to her often: it’s a language that is understood between my daughter and me. Most often, I sing Sophie’s song while I cuddle her. Occasionally, I sing the first few chords when she is less-than-cuddly (read: crabby), and my song usually brings a (reluctant) smile to her face. Now, mind you, I’m not much of a singer, so perhaps Sophie smiles because my singing is so terribly funny. Alternatively, I’d like to believe that her mother’s song pulls her out of even her crabbiest moments.

My boy, on the other hand, wishes I wouldn’t sing to him anymore, but I usually do so when I am imploring him to drive safely. Teenage boys cannot imagine how their parents love them. My own boy thinks I worry too much. But Gabe is my “Sonny Boy,” so I do, indeed, worry just a little:
            “You’ve no way of knowing
            There’s no way of showing
            What you mean to me Sonny Boy.” **

Then, there is my elegant, amiable Ella. She’s always been “My Girl”:
            “I’ve got sunshine on a cloudy day
            When it’s cold outside, I’ve got the month of May. . .
            What can make me feel this way? My girl.” ***
Everyone should have an “Ella.” She is cheerful and kind, and there are few I’d rather spend time with than my 14-year old daughter. She is the lovely month of May.

Typing the words of those songs brings a lump to my throat. Those words are a human attempt to communicate the deep, abiding, unconditional love I have for my children. Every now and then, I think the message gets through to them. I think my songs remind my children that they are loved.

On two recent occasions, I have comforted mourning friends. My friends are suffering. Their pain is raw and real and. . . painful. . .like pain tends to be. Sometimes, life hurts and leaves us crabby. . . less-than-cuddly, even. Actually, “crabby” might be a step up from where life leaves us on occasion. That is true for my friends lately. They aren’t just crabby. They are discouraged. Devastated. Despairing.

My friends need a song.

As I love my children, so does the Father love my friends. More accurately, as my Father loves, so do I love. God’s love is deep, abiding, unconditional. God’s song communicates His love for His children:

“I sought the LORD, and he answered me;
   he delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant;
   their faces are never covered with shame.
This poor (woman) called, and the LORD heard (her);
   he saved (her) out of all (her) troubles” (Psalm 34: 4-7).
"Fear not, for I have redeemed you:
    I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the water, I will be with you;
   and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through the fire you shall not be burned,
   and the flame shall not consume you.
For I am the Lord your God,
   the Holy One of Israel, your Savior” (Isaiah 43:1-3).

“For he will hide me in his shelter
   in the day of trouble;
he will conceal me under the cover of his tent;
   and will lift me high upon a rock” (Psalm 27:5).

“But he was wounded for our transgressions;
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
   and with his stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5).

“If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave   
   him up for us all, how will he not also with him, graciously give us all 
   things?” (Romans 8:31-2).

God’s song is not made by humans. Rather, God’s song was human. 
God’s song is Jesus.
Let us smile. Let us hope. Let us trust. And, praise be to God, let us sing.

May Jesus be your song today.

“He drew me up from the pit of destruction;
out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
making my steps secure.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a song of praise to our God”
(Psalm 40:2-4).

Robin Kaufmann and her husband, Tim, a neuroradiologist, live in Rochester, MN. Robin doesn’t have a song for Tim, but she has been known, on occasion, to recite poetry to her beloved husband.

Song Citations:
*Davis, Jimmie. “You Are My Sunshine.” Released: 1939
**Jolson, Al. “Sonny Boy.” Released: 1928
***The Temptations, Smokey Robinson. “My Girl.”, Album: The Temptations Sing Smokey, Released: 1965