From the vantage point of 32…

…you start to appreciate some of the hymn lyrics you glossed over in youth, like this one from Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee:

melt the clouds of sin and sadness
drive the dark of doubt away.

“The dark of doubt” is a great, great image.


  1. Funny you mention that…just the other day I was brought to tears by a hymn that annoyed me throughtout most of my youth.

    Will you come and follow me if I but call your name?
    Will you go where you don’t know and never be the same?
    Will you let my love be shown?
    Will you let my name be known?
    Will you let my life be grown in you, and you in me?

    Gay ball? Maybe…maybe not.

  2. Adam DeVille says

    Another one that came to mind recently, from “O God our help in ages past” is this stanza: “Time, like an ever-rolling stream/Bears all its sons away;/They fly forgotten as a dream/Flies at the opening day.”Depressing and humbling all at once.

  3. AnotherCoward says

    This isn’t an oldy … but the whole song paints a picture for me … and thank God it’s only played during Christmas otherwise I’d run risk of (1) bawling like a little girl year round or (2) growing cold to the song.

    The opening verse is:

    Cold are the people, Winter of life,
    We tremble in shadows this cold endless night,
    Frozen in the snow lie roses sleeping,
    Flowers that will echo the sunrise,
    Fire of hope is our only warmth,
    Weary, its flame will be dying soon.

    The song is called Night of Silence. The other 2 verses are equally excellent, and the whole song lyrically is a beautiful introduction to Silent Night and, optionally, an accompaniment for Silent Night.

    But that image of frozen flowers nearing despair … catches in my throat every time.

    Rest of the lyrics: here
    QuickTime audio: here.

  4. Jonathan Potter says

    Would it be correct to infer that you are or recently did turn this (extremely youthful) age of 32? If so, many happy returns of the day.

    Let all mortal flesh keep silence
    And with fear and trembling stand,
    Ponder nothing earthly minded
    For with blessing in his hand
    Christ our God to earth descending
    Comes our homage to demand.

  5. Matthew Lickona says

    Thanks, Jonathan. Actually, I’ve been 32 for a while now. Coming on on the Jesus year in June.

  6. Adam DeVille says

    “The Jesus year”–LOL. I thought I had a copyright on that phrase, having brought it into use when I myself turned 33 last June. So far nothing unusual has happened in such an august time: no raptures, no ascension, no ability to smite my enemies with lightning bolts, etc!

  7. AnotherCoward says

    Have you tried walking on water yet?

  8. Jonathan Potter says

    On my thirty-third birthday, I ritualistically rode the bus down to the Seattle waterfront and bought a crucifix at Ye Olde Curiosity Shop. Also gazed upon the alligator-man they have on display there. Then rode the ferry across the Puget Sound and threw overboard, duct-taped to a rock, a floppy disk containing files from a failed romantic email correspondence.

  9. AnotherCoward says

    hmmm … did you at least calm the sea? (I would imagine that throwing in such as that would make the sea upset)

  10. Matthew Lickona says

    “Files from a Failed Romantic Emailed Correspondence” is your first novel’s title! It’s perfect. And for a subtitle: “…Duct taped to a rock and thrown into Puget Sound.”

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