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Tis a gift to be simple, tis a gift to be free, - HedonHeathen's Hoppin' Hobbit Hole

About Tis a gift to be simple, tis a gift to be free,

Previous Entry Tis a gift to be simple, tis a gift to be free, Jan. 20th, 2009 @ 02:13 pm
...tis a gift to feel proud of my country for the first time in years.

There really aren't words, but I'll make some anyway.

I thought I would have to miss the inauguration, seeing as it started at 11 and I had a 10:00 interview on the other side of town. But I made it to the interview early and got back to my car and NPR as the vice president and crew were entering. Pleased that I hadn't missed it, I got on the highway to see if I could make it to a tv quickly enough to watch. If not, I had NPR. It was all good. I listened to the opening prayer as I drove, ran inside as Aretha Franklin was singing, and settled on the couch just in time to watch Biden's swearing in. Really, I got to see the whole thing... which is very fortunate for a week day, in the middle of the day. Afterwards I texted my friend and hubby, then did errands while listening to NPR commentary.

This is not the first inauguration I've watched, but it's the only one I've really cared about. It was lovely. And I was amazed and inspired to hear one of my all-time favorite songs (Simple Gifts, which I have always loved, in any form, Quaker, Pagan, instrumental, etc) played so beautifully before the president was sworn in.

His speech was not as informative as I expected it would be. But thank goodness that he stated the obvious that we all needed to hear. Thank goodness that he came across as no-nonsense and sincere - there is comfort in stating difficult facts, in being respected enough to be told what your challenges are, straight up. Thank goodness that we have once again a leader who is charismatic and inspirational, who can unify rather than divide, for we really need that now. Thank all the gods that we have an idealist in the office who still has sight of the ground. For all that idealism by nature has goals that are rarely reached, nothing inspires change and progress more than an idealist who is trying to make the world the perfect place that they know it will never be. I know he can't fix our country and the entire world as he aims to do, but it is enough to me that he will try. That's all anyone can do. That's the seed for beautiful things. Thank goodness that he can make African-Americans feel like the citizens they are, thank goodness that he can make politically complacent cynics like myself feel proud, thank goodness that he can make people cheer all over the world because of what he stands for and for what he has already acchieved. Thank goodness for his calm, confident, reassuring voice when the world needs it.

He is not a great president - not *yet* - but he's off to a good start. We will see how he handles things and how the future treats him. We will see how insightfully he can learn from the experience of his counsel, how truthfully his promises will ring, how well his administration can help lift up our country, and if he is able to continue his early skill at unifying people of all persuasions. I know some don't believe the country is ready for him; don't think he'll survive his term in office. That we will see, too. But no matter what happens, this has the potential to start a wonderful new chapter in history. No matter what happens, today has made a difference. May history bless Barack Obama.

Current Mood: hopefulhopeful
Current Music: "Simple Gifts" - Traditional
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Date:January 21st, 2009 03:45 am (UTC)
It was a great inaguration. I loved that they had Rev. Lowery, a best friend of Martin Luther King that was there during the 'Dream' speech, doing the benediction. And the first speakers speech was awesome in how she refered to King and the past. And the fact he used Lincoln's Bible was perfect. I don't typically watch inagurations or even care, but today was different. Today was history. I'm glad you got to see it. I'm glad we got to see it too. :-)
And I'm glad you knew that song. I knew I recognized it, but it was driving me crazy as to what it was.
PS: I hope your interview went well.
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Date:January 21st, 2009 03:40 pm (UTC)
From memory, so may be off by a word or two.

Quaker version:
Tis a gift to be simple,
tis a gift to be free,
tis a gift to come down
where we ought to be
and when we find ourselves
in the place just right
'twill be in the valley
of love and delight.

when true simplicity is gained
to bow and to bend
we shall not be ashamed
to turn, to turn
will be our delight
till by turning, turning,
we come down right.

chorus to the Pagan version - too long to post the verses, though I know many of them:
Dance, then, wherever you may be
for I am the Lord of the Dance, said he
and I live in you as you live in me
and I'll join you all in the dance, said he

chorus to the Christian version, again, very long, and I actually don't know the verses:
Dance, then, wherever you may be
for I am the Lord of the Dance, said he
and I'll lead you all, wherever you may be
and I'll lead you all in the dance, said he!

In both the pagan and Christian version, they have this verse, but the pagan version replaces "life" with "light," I think
They cut me down and I leapt up high
I am the Life that'll never, never die!
I'll live in you if you'll live in Me -
I am the Lord of the Dance, said He!

As poetic as the pagan version is (by the way, the pagan and Christian versions are called "Lord of the Dance" rather than "Simple Gifts" but use the same tune), the original Quaker version has become my favorite. Easily.
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