Lord, our hope truly is in You alone...our hope for tomorrow, for comfort, for joy. We cry out to you and ask for only even a whisper in return to bring light to our darkness and calm to our anxious thoughts. Amen.
Soft as the voice of an angel
Breathing a lesson unheard
Hope with a gentle persuasion
Whispers a comforting word.
Wait, till the darkness is over
Wait, till the tempest is done
Hope, for the sunshine tomorrow
After the darkness is gone.
Oh how welcome Thy voice
Making my heart
Any sorrow rejoice.
If in the dusk of the twilight
Dimmed be the region afar
Will not the deepening darkness
Brightin' the glittering star.
Then when the night is upon us
Why should the heart sink away
When the dark midnight is over
Watch for the breaking of day.
Oh how welcome Thy voice
Making my heart
Any sorrow rejoice...
Both the words and music to “Whispering Hope” were written by Alice Hawthorne, pseudonym for songwriter Septimus Winner. Published in 1868, the hymn gained instant success in churches and has been published in hymnbooks continuously since that time. Winner was quite the accomplished writer of songs including “where oh where has my little dog gone” and “ten little Indians.” He used his music to take various political stands and was at one point thrown in jail for a particular tune advocating a highly controversial political opinion.
An accomplished musician, Winner not only wrote songs, but was well known as a violinist, music teacher and ran his own music shop as well. He frequently contributed to a magazine edited by Edgar Allen Poe and although he died in 1902, he was posthumously inducted into the songwriters’ hall of fame in 1970.
Tonight's special guest is my own sweet Mama, Barbara Daniel, on guitar. Read on for more info on her!
My mother, Barbara Daniel, is bar-none one of the most tenacious people I’ve ever met. Born to first-generation-American working class parents in the Bronx in the middle of the twentieth century, opportunity to participate in organized extracurricular activities was limited to say the least. She had a brief run at guitar lessons at 13 on an instrument intended for someone twice her size. These lessons were short-lived and would prove to be both the beginning and the end of her childhood formal musical training.
But Mom is the kind of person that disregards the lack of something and creates her own solutions in space where there previously were none. When I was a baby, she decided to take piano lessons on an ancient upright given us for free by a friend who was happy to get the rat-nest-filled behemoth out of their barn. Her teacher was a saintly woman who not only taught my mom, but also rocked me on her lap as she taught. Although the demands of motherhood also cut short piano study, when Mom enrolled me in violin lessons a few years later, she sat through each of my lessons taking notes so she could help me practice and began to learn violin herself (although violin would also be placed on the back burner for many years, in order to return to school and care for aging parents). When she finally retired from her post as a health and fitness instructor in her 60's, she decided to return to her long-deferred desire to learn the guitar and began jamming with a local Celtic and Bluegrass Gospel group and practicing as diligently as any musician could. To this day, on any given Thursday night she can be found playing both the guitar and the fiddle at "Pickin' & Grinnin'" in Ardmore, TN...a community jam session that includes players of all ages and skill levels and is just about the most charming slice of Americana to be found.
I couldn't imagine doing this series without including the woman who not only gave me actual, physical life, but who sacrificed to give me opportunities she hadn't had as a child. Opportunities that ultimately led to the vocational life I would later build for myself. As with most of my guests, I let her choose the tune, and although I wasn't familiar with "Whispering Hope" when she sent it to me, I found the gospel flair fitting to her, and what better topic than hope to celebrate alongside one of the most cheerfully optimistic and encouraging women I know? I'm so incredibly proud of her and all her accomplishments. Her example is like hope whispered to me each and every day.
Based on Hebrews 6:19, “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the presence behind the veil,” the text of the song refers to the anchor that keeps the soul unwavering — the “Whispering Hope” for all Christians.
Stories and thoughts and current happenings in music and life
Bethany is a freelance violinist/fiddler and tour manager who works with artists & events such as Kelly Minter, Cultivate: A Gathering Around The Word and Laura Story. She and her husband Keith live in Nashville, TN with their daughter Clare, cat & 6 backyard chickens. For more info on Bethany, visit her bio page!!