Monday, March 7, 2011

"Lord, I Would Follow Thee"

Last night at choir practice we were going over an arrangement of the hymn, "Lord, I Would Follow Thee." Our regular choir director wasn't feeling well and stayed home. Before she started, our substitute choir director said she wanted us to know the story behind the writing of the hymn before we sang it; she had been in the same BYU ward as the author. I didn't feel comfortable sharing the sweet story online because it was so personal. However, I searched, and Susan Evan McCloud shared it herself here a year ago.

But her story reminded me of my own experience that I wanted to share. Just a few days before Steven was born I was shopping with Jeff while the other boys were at school. We had a lengthy list and at the very last store we were both exhausted. Under any other circumstances, I would have called us done and gone home. However, the crib set that would make the baby's room "perfect" just happened to be on sale that day only, and there were a few other things that we needed before his birth. We hurried into the store, got them, and stood in line to pay for them. At about that time Jeff noticed something at the check-out that he really wanted. He had already chosen his "treat" for the day and so I said no. As you can imagine he wasn't happy about that and started throwing a fit. I just tried to ignore it, pay for our stuff, and get out of there as fast as possible. Then I heard the lady behind us say something like "Why on earth is she having another baby (good thing she didn't know it was number 5!!) when she can't control the kid she already has." I was crushed. I was trying to be a good mom and just take care of my family. I was already humiliated that my three-year-old was causing a disturbance and I just wanted to disappear. Why couldn't that lady understand that I was trying to do my best, that I wasn't trying to bug her on purpose?

And so I understand what Sister McCloud was trying to say in her hymn. We don't know what's going on inside other people's lives and hearts. For the last 18 years, I've tried to remember this incident and give others the benefit of the doubt. While there's really no excuse for rudeness and unkind behavior, knowing that people are probably suffering in some way makes it easier for me to be forgiving. And smiling and offering help go a lot further than being unkind and rude back. Isn't that what the Savior taught?


1. Savior, may I learn to love thee,
Walk the path that thou hast shown,
Pause to help and lift another,
Finding strength beyond my own.
Savior, may I learn to love thee—
Lord, I would follow thee.

2. Who am I to judge another
When I walk imperfectly?
In the quiet heart is hidden
Sorrow that the eye can’t see.
Who am I to judge another?
Lord, I would follow thee.

3. I would be my brother’s keeper;
I would learn the healer’s art.
To the wounded and the weary
I would show a gentle heart.
I would be my brother’s keeper—
Lord, I would follow thee.

4. Savior, may I love my brother
As I know thou lovest me,
Find in thee my strength, my beacon,
For thy servant I would be.
Savior, may I love my brother—
Lord, I would follow thee.

Text: Susan Evans McCloud, b. 1945. © 1985 IRI

Music: K. Newell Dayley, b. 1939. © 1985 IRI