It Is Well With My Soul

March 31, 2020

“Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies.”


This morning I could feel the enemy come creepin’, creepin’…


Fear. Not a good companion for the long day ahead.


A friend had suggested at dawn that I hold myself with care this day. Good advice.


So at a pause in my writing and for lack of a better idea, I went outside and gave my newly planted Mexican heather a drink of water.


Also the pot of green and white caladiums I planted for my husband, who likes the way the wind makes them ‘wave their hands.’ Jazz hands!


All the while rediscovering a classical music mix on my iPod.


Finished with watering, I sat on the patio and began to enjoy the ‘table’ spread before me: music, cool wind, sunshine, and a mockingbird ruffling as he clung to the powerline. I went still, and joy came creepin’, creeping’…  This is good.  I’ve somehow managed to hold myself with care. And oh I would like to send this good energy out.


Then the turn of events. After some minutes of Beethoven and Boccherini came chords of guitar, a piece I don’t remember including in the mix:  the Lecha Dodi.  “Come my friend, my beloved.”  Traditional song to welcome Shabbat, Sabbath, precious day of rest, longed for as a man longs for his bride. As the guitar strummed and man’s voice soared in Hebrew, soon joined by woman’s, I was filled with a sweetness that pushed back the enemy, at least for now.  Here are the lyrics in English:


Come my beloved to welcome the bride
The presence of Shabbat we receive
Observe and remember in one divine utterance
We heard from the One and Only God
The Lord is One and His name One
For renown for splendor and for praise
Come my beloved
Shake off the dust arise
Dress in garments of glory my people
Through the son of Jesse the Bethlehemite
Redemption draws near to my soul
Come my beloved
Wake up wake up
For your light has come
Awaken, awaken sing a song
For the glory of the Lord is revealed to you
Come my beloved


Awaken, awaken! Come my beloved!


I hit replay and listened again.  Of a sudden, listening was not enough.  I told you it was a strange turn of events!  A call to strangeness! So I processed as if drawn to a sunsplashed corner of the yard, the traffic of Major Drive just beyond what we are pleased to call our ‘privacy fence’, and I began to move, in the breath of God, in the Light.  A venerable Methodist church lady engaged in a liturgical work-of-the-people dance with all the Hebrew in her, which is evidently a lot. My ‘garments of glory’ were an old red top and black leggings and gray sneakers. What a sight! For God and all the bluejays to see.  Also a broad-winged hawk who swooped near the dance floor as if mildly interested then veered away to find better fare than this.  Can’t say I blame him.


Then I spied some palm branches growing from our neighbor’s yard through the fence into ours.


So I cut them and added them to the dance.  Strange, strange, strange.  And I loved it.


We’ll call that my best prayer of the day, at least so far.








Author: Phoebe Dishman

Phoebe H. Dishman was born and raised in Beaumont, Texas. She is a wife, mother, and grandmother. An essayist and poet, she teaches adult Sunday school, compiles a monthly prayer calendar, edits the Big Thicket Association quarterly bulletin, and keeps a keen eye and ear open for birds.

One thought on “It Is Well With My Soul”

  1. Dance then, wherever you may be, I am the Lord of the Dance said he ;
    and I’ll lead you all, wherever you may be; I’ll lead you all in the dance said He.

    Lord of the Dance
    Shaker Melody


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