The song is set to repeat. We do it 7 times, complete with hand motions for Age of Imperialism, Queen Victoria, Empress of India 1877, 1948, assassination, passive resistance, India’s independence, Mohandas Gandhi .
It takes our fingers and bodies to make the memories etch into our muscles, our minds. And it works. I remember obscure dates and facts about Columbus, Westward Expansion, the split of the Roman Empire.
We learn these history sentences week after week. Creation to present day. And each event is indexed as my students chant and sing and commit to embedding these facts to be pulled later and wound tight around creative thought. A foundation to build original thought on. To a time when these facts will fill in with opinions and background and experience.
To a time when we are walking through the air museum and Kaia stops short and begins to sing about the event on December 7, 1941 when the Japanese began bombing Pearl Harbor, and she sings in her tiny voice of the US and the Allies and World War 2 and she gets that these planes suspended from the ceiling with the perfect red dot and the angry slashes of the swastika and the veterans gray and stooped, who pass the time handing out pamphlets and pointing the way to the souvenir shop once stood in uniform and did battle. And they are not just artifacts in a museum, or pages in a history book. They have a life behind them.
And I remember the staying power of the songs I memorized, long and lazy summers in a hot corridor, the pews pushed back and the doors propped open to the sweltering heat. I sat sticky legged at the 8 by 10 folding table covered with a white vinyl tablecloth, each place set with construction paper cutouts, glitter, and Elmer’s white school glue. I’d pry off the sticky dot of dried glue wedged onto the orange top and squeeze hard, milky white paste flowing onto my cutout. I remember I plastered the cross with pink glitter, its sticky sparkles adhering to me just as the scriptures sang over me and through me, stuck. The same songs my mother’s voice sang to me in lullabies sweet into my pillow as she smoothed back hair from forehead in the dim evening light, my eyes heavy and sinking beneath her words. Peace.
And then there were so many years when those words meant nothing to me, but still they were there, though I could find no reason to believe them or to try to recall them. They were nonsense background noise. But the day would come when those words and scripture proved their staying power.
That there is more to writing scripture on our hearts than the chanting and the pages being flipped and the melodies that wrap words around notes and sink them in to swaying hips and smiling lips. I thank God for those words, etched on my heart, at the ready, recalled when I need to know there is life behind them. That they are more than history or artifact. That they are life.
This post took 7 minutes from start to finish. I couldn’t get my thought finished in the five this week, I kind of felt rambly tonight. It’s just been that kind of week. Grace.
Wanna join in? You know you do. Here’s the rundown.
1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..