I love music, and hymns hold a special place in my heart. I think of many of my favorite hymns as being traditional, but I wasn’t born until the 80′s, so I can’t be too sure about that. The hymn, “Be Thou My Vision”, holds a special significance to me for a couple of reasons. First of all, nothing gets talked about more in the world of artistic photography than “vision”. Well…it may be surpassed by “composition”, but I try to ignore that. Secondly, “Be Thou My Vision” is one of my wife’s favorite songs of any genre. It is perhaps more meaningful that she should like the song because the memory of it doesn’t reach back into her childhood in the way it does for me. My satisfaction in hymns could be at least partially attributed to comfort in consistency or even a distaste for change. My wife fell in love with the song as an adult because of the words. She even told me, years ago, that she wanted to be assured of “Be Thou My Vision” being played at her funeral service.
My idea to “translate” the song from its original, dated English to a more modern vernacular is not really my own at all. Just a few days ago, I heard a portion of a song where the artist had done precisely that. Last night, though, I was struck with the desire to create my own version. Actually my real desire was to fall back asleep, but that was not working out in the least. I set to work, and while this may not be the finished product, it’s a satisfying draft that I would like to share. The words here could be a prayer for every morning.
You Be My Vision
You be my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Nothing else matters, except that You are
You’re my best thought, by day or by night,
Awake or while sleeping, You’re presence is light.
You be my wisdom; You are the true Word;
Let me be with You and you with me Lord;
You are my Father, and I am Your child;
You live in my heart; we are reconciled.
I don’t need money or man’s empty praise;
You’re my inheritance, now and always;
To you and you only does my heart belong;
God of all heaven, my treasure is strong.
God of all heaven, my victories won,
May I reach heaven’s joy, O bright Heaven’s Son!
Heart of my own heart, wherever you call;
Still be my vision, O Ruler of all.