Hush, Hush, Somebody’s callin' my name. Hush, Hush, Somebody’s callin' my name. Oh, Hush, Hush, Somebody’s callin' my name. O my Lord, O my Lord, what shall I do? What shall I do? Sounds like Jesus. Somebody’s callin' my name. Sounds like Jesus. Somebody’s callin' my name. Oh, Sounds like Jesus. Somebody’s callin' my name. O my Lord, O my Lord, what shall I do? What shall I do? —Hush, Somebody’s Callin’ My Name Traditional Spiritual, African American Heritage Hymnal
I’m good in the crisis. I can sort out what needs to be done and move on through it, no matter what it takes. It’s later that I flounder or crash—long after the crisis is over, when everyone else is getting their feet under them again.
The words of this song have been running through my mind this week as I move about the cabin. “Hush, Hush, Somebody’s callin’ my name.” I haven’t heard this song since high school choir, yet here it is, playing in my mind . . . as I rush to get breakfast together and eaten and cleaned up before the Home Nurse arrives. As I try to lift my guy’s spirits on the long gray afternoons before supper. As I run upstairs, again and again, to check the temperamental printer for him as he turns his thoughts toward tax preparations. As I cram the third plump trash bag into the trash can in the garage, pushing it down with my forearms and elbows until the lid closes. Anything not in a container in this rough, airy space attracts little critters in winter, even coffee grounds and orange peels. Just walking into the garage is an experience, let alone lying atop the tall trash can. Taking the trash to the dump is one of his jobs. With the boys gone, I need another plan. I step carefully back down the two steep steps into the entry porch, bang the door a few times ‘til the latch catches, throw my sweatshirt down the cellar steps to the washer, and wash my hands and arms in the kitchen sink . . . all the while conscious of the parallel inner life having its own conversation.
Seems when I’m physically depleted that inner conversation starts taking over, getting louder, jumbled with all the signals it receives . . . signals it can’t be counted on to interpret rightly. The silence of his discouragement—I’m doing everything I can and it’s not enough? The scowl when reminded not to lift or reach—I’m just the messenger! A light complaint about something not tasting “the same”—Now he doesn’t like my cooking! It’s all about me. He’s not being a problem patient. We’re just two personalities distilled with age . . . a little more of what we always were. Then the song breaks through again, “Hush. Hush, Somebody’s calling my name.”
We English teachers tell students to pay attention to the words that stop them when reading poetry. There’s no right answer, just questions raised. Possibilities. It’s those first words, “Hush, Hush . . .” that capture my attention. I usually have a tendency to jump to the main point, “Somebody’s calling my name.” But He’s telling that inner talk to hush, get quiet.
I think of my Daddy, all the times he would put his warm heavy hand on my shoulder when I was a little girl and whisper, “Relax.” So many Christmas Eves, Birthdays, recitals and performances where I was nearly ill with excitement and anticipation, my tummy feeling it all. Then Daddy’s hand, a signal to relax for a bit. I remember sitting, taking a dramatic deep breath, and working hard at relaxing.
I still have questions about this poem. Why does the song end with these words? “O my Lord, O my Lord, what shall I do? What shall I do?” I’m struck with the word shall. What will I purpose to do, when I hear Him calling my name? He’s simply asking me to still . . . listen . . . trust. To just do what He’s set before me each day and let the rest go. I can’t do any of it perfectly or easily. I don’t have to. He’s got it. And to remember that He has not forgotten me, us. He calls me by name—Becky, His beloved daughter.
A line from the poem I wrote for Daddy’s memorial service comes to me. “The sound of our name on his lips.” His hand heavy and warm on my shoulder . . . only love and approval in his voice and eyes, always. How much more our Heavenly Father.
Daddy From the beginning, being his kids Defined who we were. Through the years we sat with others Under the power of his teaching. But now we hold each other, living the day we have dreaded, Trying to accept that he is gone. But he is everywhere. . . Not the teacher . . . the daddy who loved us up close. We hear his deep voice, The sound of our name on his lips, The keys in his pocket, His long, even stride. We see him bending over the table to kiss Mom, Frying our breakfast eggs, Taking a sliver out of a finger, Fixing a motor at his workbench, Studying his Bible in the lamplight, Sitting in his pew in church, Putting his hand over his heart as his girls sing. We remember the driving lessons, The long road trips with Nat King Cole, Slim Whitman, And Tennessee Ernie Ford, Hamburger Deluxes at the truck stop, Those private hours in the front seat when he heard our heart. We feel his warm hand, heavy on our shoulder, His bear hug and smooth cheek against ours. We smell his after shave, The interior of his car, The waxed paper on the life savers in his pocket, Peanut butter and mayonnaise sandwiches, Fresh oranges on his hands. And we know, as we always have, How much he loved us . . . Today, our sons with their fathers Will bend their shoulders to his coffin Longing to be worthy of the task, Feeling the pain Remembering the joy Touched forever by the shadow Of this mountain of a man. Becky—January 1995
3 thoughts on “Hush, Somebody’s callin’ my name”
Dear Becky, this really spoke to me. I was recently was reading about Hagar in the Old Testament. She called God “You-Are-the-God-Who-Sees” and somehow this has really comforted me. He sees you and your loved one. ♥️
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Thank you Amy. I love this “…the-God-Who-Sees.” Precious reminder.
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I love you Baby Sister! And I miss you. Isn’t it sweet when our Lord is so present when there is nothing else? Thank you.
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