Sunday, May 6, 2007

The Ninety and Nine

Mama called me Friday night with news that Granny Traylor had fallen and broken her hip. She had surgery in the first hours of Saturday morning and all went well and for that I thank God. But calls from Louisiana that come at night are becoming frightening for me. In the past if I saw Mama and Daddy's number on the caller ID, I would excitedly pick up the phone for a visit, no matter the time of day. But the reality of my life is that there are many people I love who are getting older and more frail each passing day. Every phone call has the potential for bad news of illness or death, and I dread picking up the phone sometimes.

I know that sounds a little dramatic, and it's not as though my heart sinks every time my mom calls...far from it. It's just that I breath a little sigh of relief when I realize that the call is being made for the purpose of visiting or confirming plans rather than imparting difficult news.

So anyway, I've been thinking about Granny Traylor a lot in the last few days. I think of her favorite color (lavendar), the way her yard used to smell in the spring with all of the flowers in bloom, and of her alto voice blending in with mine as we sang all those favorite hymns around the piano. She sang one particular hymn to all of her babies long, long ago and she sang it again to my babies as she rocked them to sleep. This song will forever remind me of Granny no matter how old I get and I wanted to post the words today.

The Ninety and Nine

There were ninety and nine that safely lay
In the shelter of the fold;
But one was out on the hills away,
Far off from the gates of gold.
Away on the mountains wild and bare;
Away from the tender Shepherd’s care.
Away from the tender Shepherd’s care.

“Lord, Thou hast here Thy ninety and nine;
Are they not enough for Thee?”
But the Shepherd made answer:
“This of Mine Has wandered away from Me.
And although the road be rough and steep,
I go to the desert to find My sheep.
I go to the desert to find My sheep.”

But none of the ransomed ever knew
How deep were the waters crossed;
Nor how dark was the night the Lord passed through
Ere He found His sheep that was lost.
Out in the desert He heard its cry;
’Twas sick and helpless and ready to die.
’Twas sick and helpless and ready to die.

“Lord, whence are those blood-drops all the way,
That mark out the mountain’s track?”
“They were shed for one who had gone astray
Ere the Shepherd could bring him back.”
“Lord, whence are Thy hands so rent and torn?”
“They’re pierced tonight by many a thorn.
They’re pierced tonight by many a thorn.”

And all through the mountains, thunder-riv’n,
And up from the rocky steep,
There arose a glad cry to the gate of heav’n,
“Rejoice! I have found My sheep!”
And the angels echoed around the throne,
“Rejoice, for the Lord brings back His own!
Rejoice, for the Lord brings back His own!"

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