Wednesday, September 24, 2008

How I got over

How I got over
How did I make it over
You know my soul look back and wonder
How did I make it over

This song keeps running through my mind. I've heard it by several different people and Mahalia's version is my favorite even over Aretha's. As I lay awake at night, I hear the tune and the words and see her singing it.
Tell Me how we got over 'LORD'
Had a mighty hard time coming on over
You know my soul look back and wonder
How did we make it over

A Negro Spiritual speaks of the message of Jesus and the Good News. But it harkens back to the hard conditions of daily life for the slave. Many tried to run to a place of freedom. They may have had to go by night and even cross the water. Their promised land was on the northern side of the Ohio river (referred to as the Jordan.) Like the children of Israel escaping slavery and heading for Canaan, the African slaves in the American south sang of a similar plight. This song was written much later than the time of slavery, but perhaps is based on a song or songs the author heard sung by previous generations of her family.

I have not borne a hardship that compares to the oppression of slavery, but I, too, wonder how I got over.
And I want to thank him for how he brought me
And I want to thank GOD for how he taught me
Oh thank my GOD how he kept me
I'm gonna thank him 'cause he never left me

Over coffee today I asked my friend, Shirley, about the song. Oh, yes. Everybody, all the older folks, and younger ones knew it. It was in the Pentecostal songbook they used coming up in church. She said it spoke of hope. Encouragement to push on, you can make it.

If you need encouragement to push on maybe watching this will help. Today is the one year anniversary of my father's death. Maybe that's part of the reason I've been having a gospel music fest for a couple of days. I needed a little help to 'get over.'


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