Friday, July 20, 2012

Wit's End Corner

My mother was still in her forties when my father died after being bedridden for a year. My father was a man of strong faith and knew the heartache and possible hardships his wife and children would have to endure after his death.

A few days before Papa died, he gave my mother a poem entitled "Wit's End Corner" he had cut out of a monthly magazine and gave it to Mama and told her to keep it to read. Both my parents were readers. As tight as money was during the depression, they continued to subscribe to publications.

I thought about the poem sometime ago when reading a story about a musician who played keyboard and sang at a Starbucks shop near Times Square in New York.

It was a cold day so a large group had crowded inside the shop to enjoy the warmth and the music. It was a fun time and was beginning to be a profitable day for the musician as his basket for tips kept piling up.

The music was mostly from the 40s to the 90s with a few original tunes thrown in. During an emotional rendition of the classic, "If You Don't Know Me by Now," the musician noticed a lady sitting nearby singing along with him and swaying to the beat.

After the tune was over, she walked over and said, "I apologize for singing along on that song. Did it bother you?" "No," the musician told her. "We love it when the audience joins in!" Then he added, "Would you like to sing up front on the next selection?" She accepted his invitation. She was told to choose a song and asked,"What are you in the mood to sing?"

Finally she asked, "do you know any hymns?" He replied, Hymns sure...I cut my teeth on hymns.. Before i was born, i was going to church."

He said, "How about 'His Eye is on The Sparrow.'" The lady was silent a for a minute and then said, "OK, lets do 'His Eye is on The Sparrow."

She slowly put her purse down, straightened her jacket and faced the center of the shop and began to sing : " Why should I be discouraged?
Why should the shadows come? "

The audience of coffee drinkers were transfixed. Even the noises of the cappuccino machine ceased as the employees stopped to listen. The song rose to a conclusion:
"I sing because I'm happy,

I sing because I'm free.
His eye is on the sparrow
And he watches over me. "

The applause crescended to a roar and continued while the musician embraced his new friend and told her she had "made his day."

She told him, "Well, it's funny that you picked that particular hymn. " "Why is that?" , he asked. "Well ,"she hesitated again, "that was my daughter's favorite song". "She died at age 16 with a brain tumor two days ago."

She smiled through tear filled eyes as the musician hugged her. She said, "I am going to be okay. I'm just got to keep trusting the Lord and singing God's song." She picked up her bag, gave the musicain her card, and then she was gone.

My mother sang "His Eye Is On the Sparrow" and other hymns in the kitchen as she prepared meals and cleaned the house. Her loud and happy singing in the kitchen sometimes embarrassed me as a teen ager when I would have friends over. Today it is one of my happier memories.

The man ended his story by saying, "When you get to your wit's end, you'll find God lives there."
Those were the words my Father told Mama. When she died at age 88, the hand written poem , was still in her box of keepsakes. The poem is in her handwriting and now in my keepsakes. She must have copied from a dog-eyed printed copy frm the church newspaper.

Wit's End Corner
Are you standing at "Wit's End Corner
Friend with troubled brow?
Are you thinking of what is before you,
And all you are bearing now?
Does all the world seem against you,
And you in the battle alone?
Remember-at "Wit's End Corner"
Is just where God's power is shown.

Are you standing at "Wit's End Corner
Blinded with wearying pain,
Feeling you cannot endure it,
You cannot bear the strain,
Bruised through the constant suffering,
Dizzy, and dazed, and numb?
Remember-at "Wit's End Corner"
Is where Jesus loves to come.

Are you standing at "Wit's End Corner"?
Your work before you spread,
A mountain of tasks unfinished,
And pressing on heart and head,
Longing for strength to do it,
Stretching out trembling hands?
Remember--at "Wit's End Corner"
The Burden-bearer stands.

Are you standing at "Wit's End Corner"?
Then you're just in the very spot
To learn the wondrous resources
Of Him who faileth not:
No doubt to a brighter pathway
Your footsteps will soon be moved,
But only at "Wit's End Corner"
Is the "God who is able" proved.

Poem by Antoinette Wilson


Anonymous said...

##Psychic Reading##

Carol said...

Mother, what a wonderful post. Thanks so much for sharing the poem and the stories.

Joan said...

I REALLY enjoyed reading that post. I hope you will continue to write every day and post your thoughts, memories, and ideas.

Jane Ann said...

Aunt Ruth, once again you have reminded me of my wonderful, godly heritage. How thankful I am. Keep writing and sharing, it is a blessing to us all.

Anonymous said...

Family.God planted each of us where he wants us. But "friends" we can select. You Ruth are one of my "SPECIAL" friends and I really do appeciate you. This "Blog" thing is new to me and is just my next step into the 21st century. Thanks for walking with me. GOD BLESS YOU !!! Jeanne

Beth said...

What a wonderful story and poem. Thanks for sharing it. I hope you will continue to share your stories.

Anonymous said...

The secret of contentment is the realization that life is a gift not a right

cwhiz said...

I was just looking for a copy of "wit's end corner" that i read in "Streams in the Desert" this morning, so that I could send it to a friend. Thanks for your story, it is really a beautiful picture of life.

Emily said...

Thanks for the wonderful rememberings. I love reading what you write.

Carol said...

I read this post again this morning, and was thankful anew for my family - especially my mother. I love you.

Jane said...

This post brought tears to my eyes today as I read it again. I could see Grandpa Baird in my mind's eye giving this poem to his beloved wife knowing, probably, that he would be gone soon. He wanted to assure her she would not be alone.
I am truly a blessed woman to have been placed in this wonderful family.

Robert said...

Thanks for the lovely story of your Dad and Mom, the poem, and the singing of "His Eye Is on the Sparrow." If you'd like to read a bit about how this song came to be written, you can check my blog today, Wordwise Hymns. God bless.

Anonymous said...

Ruth, I can always identify with your stories. I remember so clearly hearing Mahalia Jackson sing "His Eye Is On The Sparrow." My mother would listen with tears in her eyes and I have them just thinking of that lovely song. I frequently think of it when I am worried and forget that He cares for me!

Thank you, my friend.

Anonymous said...

I loved reading your story and the poem "Wits End Corner" is how I found your site,as I was looking for Antoinette Wilson's poem.I came across your place.Your story brought tears to my eyes,so thanks for sharing.We both love the Poem
"Wits End Corner"

Spy Bubble said...

Any new stories for us all??


kelly said...

I have just read "Streams in the Desert" for May 23rd, and found the poem "At Wits end Corner". The poem moved me as it is written in the same format that my poems echo. My problem is that I have written God inspired poetry and I dont know who to go to for submission or publication. If anyone has ideas, please let me know! In Him, Kelly Rae