About Eye / Ear / Heart
by Leo E. Johns III
|Maybe a week before Mom died, I was
sitting with her in her room at Aberdeen Village in Lenexa, Kansas. We'd
moved her there in September when it became clear that she shouldn't live
by herself any longer in the little house we'd built for Mom and Dad in 2000.
That afternoon I was telling her stories about her parents and siblings and reminding her of their names. By this time, her memory and tracking were not very sharp, and after some story time I said, "...and I'm your oldest son - Leo Johns. I'm Bud Johns. I play piano."
She looked at me and, with some effort, she said: "You like speakers."
I was a bit puzzled. I said, "That's right, Mom. Speakers. I do like speakers. I have always liked speakers. I collect as many speakers as I can, and I play lots of music through them. Thanks for letting me have all my speakers." Then, "...and I'll bring in a speaker tomorrow, and a little piano, and I'll play some songs for you."
She looked up at me, and, after a few long moments and with what seemed to be a weary but loving sigh, she said: "Simple."
(As in: "I do love you, son, but you overdo things sometimes. I'm resting in peace here. Can you keep it simple?" )
That was the last time we talked. She is of course right - sometimes I can overcomplicate things. So, that night I brought in just my daughter Melinda's little 3/4 guitar, and I sat in the dark with her and played and sang hymns, and campfire songs, and James Taylor and Eric Clapton blues, and lots of music - just me and Mom. I am not sure if she heard me or not. I like to think she could hear the voice of an angel - and I hope that angel sings better than I do.
(And Mom, that's good Life advice. I promise to try to keep it simple. Thanks for sharing that with me.)
"Eye / Ear / Heart" started in late '07 as a fragment. Since I thought Mom's friends (especially Shirley Cupp) might want to hear something like Edna's Simple Song at her service, I finished it and asked Ron Gutierrez to sing it for us. He performed it well, don't you think?
Eye / Ear / Heart
a simple hymn for Edna
by Leo E. Johns III
(hear it - mp3 format)
Set my eye on you, O Lord.
Make my vision clear
And shine a holy lamp of love
On all Your people here.
To sanctify me from my sin
You sent your Son to die.
And so alone in silence now
On you I set my eye.
Lean my ear to you, O Lord.
Reveal your sweetest song
So I may hear its melody
Resound my whole life long.
In everlasting harmonies
Your love casts out my fear.
I hear your angels singing now.
To you I lean my ear.
(Our lives are but a wispy mist.
You know the number of our days.
Bend us to your perfect will.
Help us walk your perfect way.)
Fix my heart on you, O Lord.
And fill me with Your grace.
Keep me shining in the light
Reflecting from Your face
As I endure the path You choose
To set my soul apart.
I seek your will - forever still.
On you I fix my heart.
. . . . .
Performance musicians at
Mom's 1/17/09 Memorial Service:
Ron Gutierrez, Vocal
Leo "Bud" Johns, Piano
| back to Edna's page... |