One of our favorite Christmas albums (although it is good listening all year long) is “Voices of Winter” (1997 Gadfly Records) a CD of a series of live performances by Priscilla Herdman, Anne Hills, and Cindy Mangsen. One song in particular has resonated with me this season, “Witch Hazel” on track four.
The lyrics are particularly meaningful this year, with world politics, economic pressures, and the loss of a dear friend’s husband just days before Christmas.
I am looking at a witch hazel blooming in a garden
Bright yellow flowers in the middle of wintertime
And I tell my heart be strong like the witch hazel flower
And you will not be injured by these dark and troubled times.
Such a beautiful image, a yellow flower standing out against the coldness of the snow. Strong yet not forbidding.
A few nights ago I was talking to my friend who had lost her husband and I was trying to give her some words of comfort – some thing to get her through the first night that she has stayed at her own home since the passing of her husband. While we both have the same faith background and believe that her husband is in Heaven with our Lord, that does not change the fact that she misses him being here with her.
It’s a tough conversation. I have to suppress my normal “fix-it” response – because I can’t. All that I can do is be there as a supportive voice and a listening ear.