My Father is rich in houses and lands,
He holdeth the wealth of the world in His hands!
Of rubies and diamonds, of silver and gold,
His coffers are full, He has riches untold.
You see, my mother taught me this song when I was “knee high to a grasshopper” as they say where I come from. And I can still see us standing around the piano singing as the evening shadows deepened replacing the last rays of the setting sun.
But now He is pleading our pardon on high,
That we may be His when He comes by and by.
These memories are more precious to me now since my parents have both gone to their rest. Just when they got all of us kids raised and they had the time to relax and enjoy life, maybe even travel a bit, mother grew sick with Alzheimer’s disease. My parents had made a pact between them that they would take care of each other rather than resort to nursing home care. In their eyes it must not have been an option and my daddy learned how to take care of mother. He took over the household duties. He tied her shoe laces and brushed her teeth and combed her hair. He bathed and fed her when she could no longer hold a spoon.
I once was an outcast stranger on earth,
A sinner by choice, an alien by birth,
But I’ve been adopted, my name’s written down,
An heir to a mansion, a robe and a crown.
Those of you who have experience with this hideous disease, know that it robs the senses, sometimes slowly, but often quickly. It got a quick grip on mother and soon she lost her ability to speak. Unable to say what was on her heart, it frustrated her so and pained us all so much to watch. But when the family could once again gather around the piano, my mother “found her voice”.
We were all shocked and hushed to a whisper ~ transfixed by mother’s beautiful voice and perfect diction ~ her eyes closed as she sang from deep within her soul the words committed to memory so long ago. Apparently what was in her mind and heart from a lifetime of singing returned to gift us all. Her face took on the glow of heaven while she sang ~ she was free for a few moments ~ but once the music stopped the disease gripped mother’s vocal cords and silenced her once again.
A tent or a cottage, why should I care?
They’re building a palace for me over there;
Though exiled from home, yet still may I sing:
All glory to God, I’m a child of the King.
Little did I know that while I was learning these words, which meant little to my childish heart, they would come back to me now and bless me once again. Memories may be all we have now, but not for long. We have the hope of resurrection morning and my mother will sing again. The words of this song remind me of who I am; who I belong to and soon He will come back and claim His kids and we will be reunited with our loved ones ~ forever children of the heavenly King.
I’m a child of the King,
A child of the King:
With Jesus my Savior,
I’m a child of the King.
Words: Harriet E. Buell, 1877
Music: John B. Sumner, 1877