I have a book. Basically it's for writing quotes, thoughts, words, songs, poems, lists, websites and whatever the heck else I want in. You probably have one, too. My friend Kjersti calls her's her 'blank book'. It's a good name.
Anyway, I came across a poem in the 'blank book' that struck me. The words are familiar. I've heard them hundreds of times, but I've never really read them. They became more awesome to me when I did, and I thought you might like to read them, too.
Lead, kindly Light, amid th'encircling gloom;
Lead thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home;
Lead thou me on!
Keep thou my feet; I do not ask to see
the distant scene-
one step enough for me.
I was not ever thus, nor pray'd that thou
shouldst lead me on.
I loved to choose and see my path;
but now, lead thou me on!
I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears,
pride ruled my will.
Remember not past years.
So long thy pow'r hath blest me,
sure it still will lead me on
o'er moor and fen,
o'er crag and torrent
till the night is gone.
And with the morning
those angel faces smile,
which I have loved long since,
and lost awhile!
These words were written in 1833 by the Roman Catholic (now Venerable) John Henry Newman. While on a trip to Italy, he became very sick and was also stranded because there was no ship to take him back to England. Of the experience he said, "Before starting from my inn, I sat down on my bed and began to sob bitterly. My servant, who had acted as my nurse, asked what ailed me. I could only answer, "I have a work to do in England." I was aching to get home, yet for want of a vessel I was kept at Palermo for three weeks. I began to visit the churches, and they calmed my impatience, though I did not attend any services. At last I got off in an orange boat, bound for Marseilles. We were becalmed for a whole week in the Straits of Bonifacio, and it was there that I wrote the lines, Lead, Kindly Light, which have since become so well known."
In addition, it is said that this song was being sung by soloist Marion Wright or that the orchestra was playing it as the Titanic sank and the life boats were being loaded.
If you would like to hear the song being sung, here you go (the flutist at 1:06 looks like my mom):
I have also heard, or read, rather, that this was one of Ghandi's favorite hymns.