Saturday, November 13, 2010

When they scraped together his belongings, they found a ragged, dirty coat with thirty-eight cents in one pocket and a scrap of paper in the other. All his earthly goods. Enough coins for another night in the Bowery and five words, "Dear friends and gentle hearts." Almost like the words of a song, someone thought. But who cared?

Why in the world would a forgotten drunk carry around a line of lyrics? Maybe he still believed he had it in him. Maybe that derelict with the body of a bum still had the heart of a genius. For once upon a time, long before his tragic death at age thirty-eight, he had written the songs that literally made the whole world sing, like:  "Camptown Races," "Oh! Susanna!," "Beautiful Dreamer," "Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair," "Old Folks at Home," "My Old Kentucky Home" and two hundred more that have become deeply rooted in our rich American heritage. Thanks to Stephen Foster, whom nobody knew. And for whom nobody cared.

Makes me think of a few lines out of and old poem preacher's once quoted:

And many a man with life out of tune,
And battered and scarred with sin,
Is auctioned cheap to the thoughtless crowd
Much like the old violin.

A "mess of pottage," a glass of wine;
A game--and he travels on.
He's "going" once, and "going" twice,
He's "going" and almost "gone."

Almost, Almost gone. Until someone cares. And steps in. And stoops down. And, in love, rebuilds a life, restores a soul, rekindles a flame that sin snuffed out, and renews a song that once was there. As Fanny Crosby put it:

Touched by a loving heart,
Wakened by kindness
Chords that were broken,
Will vibrate once more.

(Taken and adapted from Charles R. Swindoll's splendid book, Come Before Winter...And Share My Hope)


Mildred said...

What a wonderful post Clif. Thank you and have a blessed weekend.

Gretta said...

Stopping by from Spiritual Sundays ~ What a beautiful post and a great reminder that God uses everyone and how we shouldn't judge others.


Karen said...

Thankful for Jesus Chris; I was touched by His loving heart. Beautiful post, Clif!

myletterstoemily said...

poor old guy. that's probably what he was
thankful for : dear friends and gentle hearts.

they say the fellowship in a bar can be very
sweet. i hope he had both things before he



We forget sometimes that even the sparrow is significant in God's eyes. O that we would be more like Him. Great post, Clif. God bless you, Dr. Bobbi

Crystal Mary said...

I didn't know that about Stephan Foster..I wonder what went wrong? Thirty eight is so young. He accomplished so much, and yet his ear obviously listened to the devil tell him, he was of little value..When we feel dejected and alone, we need to remember we stand on the Rock, the one who carries and cares for us.
Bless you Clif.

Veronica Lee said...

Beautiful post!

Happy Spiritual Sunday!

sarah said...

someone had given me that violin poem. I read it over and over and over. I think cause I saw what He did for me in it. Thanks for this Cliff.

Anita Johnson said...

What an amazing story...

Ruth said...

i love this story.. thank you so much for sharing. Have a wonderful week ahead Cliff!

Sandy said...

Thank you Clef. This has been a reoccurring theme lately.

Audrey said...

Powerful post. Thanks for sharing!

Donnie said...

Wonderful post. Thanks so much for sharing it.
Have a blessed Sunday!

Renee said...

Wonderful post, Clif. Good reminder of how God uses everyone.

Ginger~~Enchanting Cottage said...

This is such a sad story. So many people are hurting right in front of us and we don't even know it because we are to busy to notice.
I was gone this weekend so I'm a little late and stopping by.