ONE FOR YOU, ONE FOR ME – God blesses us, that we may honor Him and bless others with His gifts … I must have slept thru that lesson the first time around.

by admin

ONE FOR YOU, ONE FOR ME

Copyright 2012 B.L.Schappell

One evening, early in 1975, I was seated at the piano in the darkened living room, with only the soft, golden light from the kitchen to barely illuminate the keys.  I had just applied the finishing touches to a new composition, titled “A Prayer For All Times”, which had been in the creation process for perhaps a week or two.  I was idly running through and savoring the sequence of accompanying chords, when an entirely new chord progression and melody sauntered gently into my mind and tumbled out through my fingertips!

Although this “newborn baby” was set in a different key, the feel – the mood – was somewhat similar to the piece that I had just completed.  Reappearing, too, was the same classical, three-chord-sequence which had fit so well into the structure of “A Prayer For All Times”, now slipping itself comfortably into the resolution of the verse of this new, unnamed work.

I was very pleased with the earnest, open-hearted “A Prayer For All Times”, and was exceedingly delighted with the melody and the chords of the new piece, so far, although I had been unable to do a thing in regard to lyrics – it was kind of like a tree with no foliage, or a face without features!

I closed up the piano and called it a night, generally contented with the overall fruits of the evening.  And for days thereafter – which became weeks thereafter – I would sit at the piano, specifically working out bits and parts of one song or another; but sooner or later I would find myself running through those beautiful chords, humming that haunting melody, trying out a line here, a couplet there, but coming up empty.

Those weeks turned into months, and like the recurring dream that repeats its dialogue, delivers an identical outcome, and produces carbon-copy frustration, despite being able to successfully complete numerous other projects, and smooth out the “lumps and wrinkles” in a few new ones, I simply could not get to second base on this particular one!

Months of anguish eventually morphed into years – yes, years!   Believe it!  In dire desperation, I even resorted to the pursuit of a collaborator who just might be able to put a face on my baby!  I meticulously gleaned from my docket of my most-trusted musician friends and associates a list of names, each of whom I then telephoned, set up appointed times, and personally sat with for often what turned out to be hours at the keyboard – sometimes theirs, sometimes mine! – running through, again and again, my “non-song”. 

“Now, what do you hear?” I would ask, holding my breath in anticipation of a long-overdue break-through.  On several occasions, the response went something like, “Well, what do you hear?”  I would then patiently sing those few lyrics that I had plugged in, inserting my square pegs into the gracefully-rounded holes of the melody, and filling the sporadic bald spots with humming and “dah-dah’s”.

Finally, after more years than I would have ever guessed I’d be willing to invest in one song, I pulled the plug, turned the page, and committed the entire musical work, which had produced nothing but disappointment and frazzled emotions, to the mothballs of my cerebral archives, and moved on to more productive endeavors.

Fast-forward to a chilly, overcast, late-winter day in 1994.   I was driving south, down I-176, toward an appointment with a client, about a half-hour away.   I briefly turned on the radio, but immediately turned it off again, as better judgment told me this would be a great opportunity to take some time with My Master in prayer and overdue conversation.

I had barely begun gathering my thoughts when a tune began playing in my head.  Now, for much of my life, I’ve joked that I have a juke box in my cranium, as there is nearly always a melody of some sort playing up there, quite like the background music in a movie!  However, this tune sounded so familiar – and it bore the faint scent of moth balls!

I listened intently to the melody, while mentally forming those soothing chords, as my car seemed to cruise on automatic pilot down the Interstate.  And just like that breakfast cereal commercial that advises us to “taste ‘em again for the first time”, I heard that 19-year-old melody “again for the first time”.

Then, as I listened, wafting through the dusty corridors of my mind came:

 

“O Lord of Life, we bow before You,

We worship You, Praise Your name;

Eternal One, Your sovereign majesty

From age to age remain the same;

Creator, Redeemer, Your holy excellence proclaim,

Praise your name!  Praise your name!”

 

Wow!  I quickly grabbed a pen, pulled a note pad from my briefcase, and began scrawling on the page with my right hand, steering with my left hand, and oh yes, keeping my eyes riveted to the road!   I had learned from a prior, sad experience that I must immediately transcribe this as I’m hearing it, or it will surely dissipate like a vapor.

But now, a second verse was beginning, so I quickly glanced at the page to be sure that I was writing on a blank part of the paper, and hastened to capture more.

 

O Lamb of God, our Intercessor,

The Bread of Life, Living Word;

O Prince of Peace, we glorify You,

You’re King of Kings and Lord of Lords;

Our Master, our Savior, the Sun of Righteousness adored;

Praise You, Lord, Praise Your name!”

 

This was incredible!  After literally years of fruitless efforts to put a face on this baby, I could suddenly see it taking form, although rightfully I could claim no personal credit for its unfolding! Of course, I’d never given birth to a child, and have not to this very day, since I’m of the male persuasion, but this experience was likely the closest I’d ever get to that joy!

Minutes from my destination, now, I was aware that I’d have to cease and desist from taking notes once I entered traffic.  But, wait!  Another verse was beginning.

 

“Each golden day throughout eternity,

All flesh before Your throne will fall;

Each knee will bow and every tongue confess

That Jesus is Lord of all;

We’ll praise You, exalt You, Your holy worthiness proclaim

Praise Your name! praise Your name!

 

And then, with my Route 23 exit in sight, ahead in the near distance, there came this short, crowning chorus!

 

“And the Kingdom and the power, and the glory

Are Yours for evermore,

Praise Your name!

You know the Kingdom and the power, and the glory

Are Yours for evermore,

Praise Your name! praise Your name! praise Your name!

 

My wonderful Heavenly Father had downloaded to me, within the space of about 20 minutes, precisely what I had failed to accomplish in nearly two decades!  But this revelation was really a two-part gift.

First, He graciously blessed me with the long-overdue solution to my need for lyrics to flesh out the music that He had introduced to me ‘way back in the post-Watergate era!  This was His solution, certainly not mine.  Those words  - His words  - of praise were the perfect fit for the melody and the majesty of His music. 

Then, He revealed to me the reason for the delay in its delivery.  So true to form, once again, I had been the author of my own difficulty!  Having initially received, that evening 19 years in the past, the song “A Prayer For All Times”, and willingly committing to using it for Him, I had turned right around and attempted to confiscate His second gift for my own personal use. 

Over the years, I had squandered countless hours, trying to attach sentimental, syrupy, secular lyrics to that unique melody which God had intended from its  inception to be used for His worship and praise!  And then, when my best efforts to employ God’s gift for my own benefit failed, instead of recommitting His gift back to Him, I bagged it up and left it in storage for what amounted to about ten more years.

How patient with me is my Lord!  In the wake of this incredible, 19-year-deferred character-adjustment, He has impressed me afresh with the breadth and depth of His longsuffering!  Moreover, He has reinforced in me that His blessings of life and health and wonderful relationships, of soundness and clarity of mind, of opportunities galore, as well as an abundance of personal possessions and countless material gifts, are entrusted to us so that we may employ the entirety to bring glory and honor to His name and, in turn, to be a blessing folks around us.  

And the short version of the moral of this story could well be: Don’t mess with The Almighty’s stuff!

I thank you, Father, for your patience and loving-kindness.  May the Kingdom and the power, and the glory be Yours for evermore!  Praise Your name, O Lord!   Praise Your name!

  “Praise  Your  Name”  by  Lee Schappell, Copyright  1999  /  Little Buford Music  ASCAP,  all rights reserved.

 (rev 02-13-12 8p)

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