Jesus claimed my soul
when I was just a little girl,
sitting on the red-and-white-painted wooden chairs,
just my size,
in Sunday School.

Through “Jesus Loves Me” and “Away in a Manger,”
I learned to sing and love in the same breath.
Piano notes and lovely words and
morning sunlight streaming through the windows
mingled with the rise-and-fall of pitch, the in-and-out of breathing,
and music was as natural as talking
and as essential as air.

Most folks follow John’s lead and use water.
But song laid hands on me.

Virginia Baldwin Gilbert 1997


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