Thursday, March 25, 2010

Friday Fiction for March 26, 2010

Welcome to Friday Fiction, which I have the pleasure of hosting this week! Look at the bottom of this post for MckLinky, to either enter your link, or to click over and read the other submissions.

This week, I decided to post one of my personal favorite Challenge Entries from the Faithwriters Weekly Challenge. While this story didn’t place (possibly due to the Topic that week being the United Kingdom, of which Northern Ireland is a part, but Ireland proper isn’t, and I didn’t differentiate which I was referring to in this story), it remains one that very much struck a chord with me as I wrote it.

The hymn is one that I both love to sing, and to play on my flute, and this made it especially easy for me to imagine the scene as I wrote it. I hope it resonates with you as well.

Visions of an Old Flutist

Challenge Entry: Week of January 22, 2009

He ran his gnarled fingers lovingly down the wood of the old flute, still impressed after all the years by the craftsmanship that had gone into it. As a young man, it had seemed to him a gift too rich to receive. Now that he was old, it was a friend too precious to lose.

Drawing a breath that was not nearly as deep as those he’d taken the first time he’d played it, he brought the instrument to his lips and, with practiced ease, blew a single, long test note. Happy with his tuning, he launched into the first phrases of the tune, playing by memory and singing the lyrics in his mind.

Be Thou my vision,

Oh Lord of my heart.

Naught be all else to me

Save that Thou art!

Thou my best thought

By day, or by night.

Waking or sleeping,

Thy Presence, my light.

The rich music of the flute carried over the hills, much as his voice once had when he’d still been able to sing. His father had taught him to play, and he’d refined his skills along with other musicians at the local pub. The sessions had always been a pleasure, and an Irish tradition that dated back longer than any could tell.

Be Thou my wisdom,

Thou, my true Word.

I ever with Thee,

And Thou with me, Lord.

Thou, my great Father,

And I, Thy true son.

Thou, with me dwelling,

And I with Thee one.

His Father had taught him the true joy of music, though. While the lively jigs and reels were exhilarating to play, it was in worship that his spirit found release. Sometimes, an old friend would come by and join him in the praise, playing the fiddle or the bodhran to accompany his flute, but most evenings now, he played alone.

Riches, I heed not,

Nor man’s empty praise.

Thou, mine inheritance

Now, and always.

Thou, and Thou only,

First in my heart.

High King of Heaven,

My treasure, Thou art.

You could make some money, playing for tourists in the city, friends told him. People come from all over the world, looking for a taste of the old Ireland, and you could give it to them, they said. His old home wasn’t much, but it was where his children had been raised, and where he and his wife had enjoyed many happy years together. It was where she had smiled at him before telling him good-bye, and he fully intended to make that same journey from the same bed she had passed away in.

When he was young, he had enjoyed the accolades given to his music. It had been his flute that had caught her ear long before his smile had caught her eye, and of all the Earthly audiences he’d played for, she and their children had quickly become his favorite. He imagined her now, sitting alongside the angels, listening to the simple solo.

High King of Heaven,

My victory won,

May I reach heaven’s joys,

Oh bright Heaven’s Son!

Heart of my own heart,

Whatever befall,

Still be my vision

Oh, Ruler of all.

The last notes echoed away on the breeze, and he lowered the flute. Holding it close across his chest, he allowed only a moment of sad nostalgia before mouthing a silent prayer of thanks for the voice of the flute. For as long as he had breath, he could still praise the Lord.

Standing from the old chair, he felt the wall behind him for the door and entered the dark house. He put the flute in its case by feel, and set it in its place on the shelf where he could find it the next evening. Shuffling off to bed, he fell asleep with the assurance that his next vision would be of the Ruler of All.


Unknown said...

I love that song! There is just something hauntingly beautiful about hearing it played on a flute. Nicely done. I loved the last part, and his next vision. Very fitting.

Catrina Bradley said...

What a wonderful account of a soul in worship. I can see why it's one of your favorites.

Sara Harricharan said...

Oh this is BEAUTIFUL! please note the capital letters-lol. I can easily see why this would be your favorite, I find it your most haunting, bittersweet pieces yet. The ending was just right! Be Thou My Vision is one of the first "songs" I memorized after my baptism. ^_^ I love the version by Twila Paris best.
((and thanks for leaving the McLinky open for those of us latecomers)