Personal Online Journal

Sunday, June 20, 2021

"My Kindness Shall Not Depart From Thee"

I love this song. It touches my heart and fills me with hope and love. 

Lyrics for My Kindness Shall Not Depart From Thee by Rob Gardner

For a little while
Have I forsaken thee
But with great mercies will I gather thee
In a little wrath I hid my face from thee
For a moment

But with everlasting kindness will I gather thee
And with mercy will I take thee 'neath my wings
For the mountains shall depart
And the hills shall be removed
And the valleys shall be lost beneath the sea
But know, my child
My kindness shall not depart from thee

Though thine afflictions seem
At times too great to bear
I know thine every thought and every care
And though the very jaws
Of hell gape after thee I am with thee

And with everlasting mercy will I succor thee
And with healing will I take thee 'neath my wings
Though the mountains shall depart
And the hills shall be removed
And the valleys shall be lost beneath the sea
Know, my child
My kindness shall not depart from thee

How long can rolling waters
Remain impure?
What pow'r shall stay the hand of God?
The Son of Man hath descended below all things
Art thou greater than He?

So hold on thy way
For I shall be with thee
And mine angels shall encircle thee
Doubt not what thou knowest
Fear not man, for he
Cannot hurt thee

And with everlasting kindness will I succor thee
And with mercy will I take thee 'neath my wings
For the mountains shall depart
And the hills shall be removed
And the valleys shall be lost beneath the sea
But know, my child
My kindness shall not depart from thee


Thursday, June 17, 2021

Rising Strong

I am not sure if I can stop saying how much Brene Brown has benefited me. This book is no less good that the others I have read. This quote jumped out to me this morning.

In the absence of data, we will always make up stories. It’s how we are wired. In fact, the need to make up a story, especially when we are hurt, is part of our most primitive survival wiring. Meaning making is in our biology, and our default is often to come up with a story that makes sense, feels familiar, and offers us insight into how to self-protect. What we’re trying to do in the rumble --choosing to feel uncertain and vulnerable as we rumble with the truth-- is a conscious choice. A brave, conscious choice.

Robert Burton, a neurologist and novelist, explains that our brains reward us with dopamine when we recognize and complete patterns. Stories are patterns. The brain recognizes the familiar beginning-middle-end structure of a story and rewards us for clearing up ambiguity. Unfortunately, we don’t need to be accurate, just certain.

(“Rising Strong” by BrenĂ© Brown p 79)


Sunday, June 13, 2021

Friday, June 11, 2021

I Will Try to Fix You

"Lights will guide you home

And ignite your bones

And I will try to fix you"

I love the Cinematic Pop version of this song. I imagine these words come from God. God will repair all if I allow His Grace in my life by working the path he lays before me. 

Tuesday, June 01, 2021

Which Part is Mine?

This is one of the most powerful songs I have ever heard. It is sung by Felicia Sorensen. The following has the lyrics to the song as well as the story behind as told by the author Michael McLean. 

Lynne and I just celebrated our 36th Anniversary, and I’ve been thinking a lot about the remarkable woman I married back in August of 1974.  She’s not only the reason my heart has a song, she influences every song I write, though not always as I would like.  Here’s a classic example of what I’m talking about.   The song is “Which Part is Mine?” and this story makes the most sense if you experience the lyrics to my first draft of the song first:

She was only a dairyman’s daughter.  She was only a child of thirteen,

But the stars on the radio brightened her nights with a dream    

So she called up her best girlfriend, Jenny, cause she thought

They would make quite a pair

She said, “Let’s you and me try to sing harmony

At the amateur night at the fair.

But she only had the range of an alto

So the part she knew best went to her friend

And when Jenny’s soprano drowned out the piano

They’d have to start over again.

And the dairyman’s daughter would then say

“Which part is mine, and Jen which part is yours?

Could you tell me one more time, I’m never quite sure

And I won’t cross the line like I have before

So please help me learn which part is mine

And which part is yours.”

She grew up and got married to Bobby

Kept him working on his MBA

They had two little red-headed children

And one on the way.

Everybody said she could work wonders and she

Wondered what everyone meant

She played so many roles it was taking its toll

And she feared that her life was mis-spent

So she opened her heart to her husband

They discussed everything on her list

From the kids to the job to her feelings for Bob

But what it really just boiled down to this…She said

“Which part is mine, and Bob, which part is yours,

Let’s review it one more time. I guess I’m not sure.

And I won’t cross the line like I have before

If we’ll just define which part is mine, and which part is yours.


-- interlude --


Every sleepless night knows many mothers who are

Wondering if they’ve done alright

And the dairyman’s daughter knew more than a few of those nights.

Had she give her son too much freedom?

Had she smothered her two teenage girls?

Did she spoil them too much or not trust them enough

To prepare them for life in this world?

So she opened her heart to the heavens and she

And she spoke of her children by name..

And the prayer that she prayed that her kids would be saved

Had a very familiar refrain…She said "Let's review this again"

“Which part is mine?  And God, which part is yours?

Could you tell me one more time, I’m never quite sure

And I won’t cross the line like I have before.

But it gets so confusing sometimes.

Should I do more or trust the divine.

Could you please tell me which part is mine and which part is yours?"

When I first wrote the song, that’s where it ended.  I played it for my wife who said… “That’s not the ending, is it?”

“Yes, it is…”

“Michael, it can’t be.  It’s too depressing.”

“Depressing?  It’s not depressing, it’s life.  Can’t you see, I have captured a truth about life in my song.  Everyday we wake up and we have to decide how much is up to us, and how much we can turn over to someone or something else.   Is today the day that if it’s meant to be it’s up to me, or is today the day to just let go and let God?”

I was on a roll…I think if you listened closely you could have heard a church organ underscore my little sermonette.

“Is today the day that when the going get’s tough, the tough get going…or is it a day you trust that you’ve done all you can do and show some faith.   Can’t you see, Lynne, this song, perhaps more than any other song I’ve written, has captured a truth about life.”

“Yeah…in a really depressing way.  Can’ you fix the ending?”

We’d been married a long time and I’d learned not to get defensive when my wife offered constructive criticism of my songs. So, I listened, actively, and when the mood seemed right I said.


“Goodnight, Michael. Play me that song again sometime, when it’s finished.”

I was NOT going to change that song.  The artist in me was not going to compromise just to make Pollyanna happy.  You know, I never discussed this with her, but I think my wife truly believed Romeo and Juliet should have lived.  

I was too riled up to sleep so I went to the “great room” of our house.  Perhaps I should mention here that at the time our place was sort of like THE WALTONS television show, and I was John Boy.  My mom and dad lived there, my wife and our three kids, and my sister and her husband and their three children.  The central gathering place of the house we called the “great room”. It had a wonderful piano in it, and with the logs and rock and high ceiling it sounded great.  

I played through the song again, imagining how it would sound, unchanged and recorded in a professional studio with terrific players and a great singer.   

When I got to the final few lines…. “It gets so confusing some times.  Should I do more or trust the Divine? Lord please help know which part is mine and which part is…..yours……”

When I came to the word yours I accidentally hit the wrong chord and it created an almost eerie texture to the song.  As the harmonics rang throughout the room, and put the context of the song into an entirely different key, I saw in my mind’s eye the dairyman’s daughter that I’d been singing about.  She was in her kitchen, grating carrots.  Then, dropped everything into the sink and leaned against the counter, with her head bowed and her fingers interlaced.  

And I heard her sing:


It was so faint I almost missed it.


I could see her lower lip tremble.






I could hear violins swelling and the woodwinds echoing.  It was so beautiful I couldn’t stop, and strangely I knew how she was feeling. Living under the same roof with so much family (nuclear and extended) all needing so much attention, understanding and love and not knowing if and/or when you’ve done enough can really make you yearn for answers to life’s big questions like “which part is mine, and which part is Yours?” Yet when you’ve been struggling for a long time, and wondering if anyone up there knows what you’re going through, and then you feel that closeness, it’s so healing you don’t ever want it to leave. It’s curious to me that what often brings the comfort is not a specific answer to a question, but knowing you are actually being heard.

Yes, I knew how my dairyman’s daughter felt and so I joined her, loudly in the refrain:


Throughout the house I heard unimagined voices saying: “YES, WE HEAR YOU…………GO…..TO……BED!!!!!!!!

But I couldn’t. Not yet.  I didn’t want the feeling to go away.  So very quietly I played that ending over and over and over again.  After I’d recorded the song people told me that the fade out was longer than HEY JUDE.   My explanation was simple.   People who are feeling heard don’t ever want that feeling to go away.  

And then the dairyman’s daughter was gone.  In my mind’s eye I couldn’t locate her anywhere. It surprised me when I heard myself sing what became the ending to the song:




The recording of the song sounded just like it did in my head, and I sent it to my wife and daughter who were on an educational tour together overseas.  I express mailed a copy so they’d have something to listen to on the long bus rides.  Typical of my wife, she played the song for everyone and then called to tell me how much everyone responded to it. 

She’s never taken credit for the ending.

She should.