Friday, March 18, 2011

Cloudy Vision

"Be Thou My Vision, (an Irish hymn) is anonymous, but it comes from the seventh or eighth century. It is filled with various titles for God. The word vision is used to indicate not only what we focus on but also what we strive for. As we strive for a goal, we gain a long-range perspective that helps us see today's disappointments as trivial when compared to the heavenly vision." - The One Year Book of Hymns.

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Nought be all else to me, save that Thou art
Thou my best thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Be Thou my Wisdom and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, and I Thy true son,

Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.

Riches I heed not, not man's empty praise,
Thou mine inheritance, now and always;
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart;

High King of heaven, my treasure Thou art.

High King of heaven, my victory won,
may I reach heaven's joys, O bright heaven's Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,

Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.

I marvel at the timelessness of these words, written so very long ago. I don't have a great grasp of history, but enough to know that life during the middle ages in Ireland could not have been pleasant. Disappointments were probably easy to come by. No medicine, limited education, questionable food preparation techniques ("whole food" takes on an entirely different meaning) - all these were ripe breeding grounds for disappointments. Daily, if not hourly, would come reminders that your vision should be not on this earth, but on the High King of heaven.

My life in the 21st century is certainly more comfortable. Incredible medicine, unlimited education, food preparation so frightening (think deep-fried Twinkies) that "whole foods" has become the new goal. There are still disappointments, but there are also so many diversions to cover up and take your mind off those disappointments. Sometimes, I find that those diversions are drawing my vision away from the Lord and onto the diversion itself - as if comfort and solace has it's origin in that diversion. Life is easier, but my view of heaven is clouded.

These are beautiful words to help clear away those clouds. It is humbling that an 8th century writer could have a better grasp on God than this 21st century accountant..what with all my education, and awesome food preparation techniques (you should try my Brussels sprouts). But when all that gets in the way, I need to be humbled.

"Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:13-14


  1. Julie, wow and thanks for the words. Good words they are to inspire me. Great job.

  2. Congratulations Julie on making your writing and insights public! You have such a wonderful way with words. Still the inner critic and let your mind flow with ease! God will use your insights and humor to lift up others. Songs have been such a gift to me during my "disappointments." What a fitting and timely song to jumpstart your blog! Go girl!
    Aunt Carol