Notes from Jan

A Wake-Up Song

March 27, 2020

Just to be clear, I don’t always wake up singing hymns.

This one left me thinking of Jud and reflecting.

“Fish gotta swim,  birds gotta fly, I’m gonna love one  man till I die” from Showboat.

Well, it’s not the exact lyrics but it’s what I woke up singing.

As many of you know, I live in Gloucester, America’s oldest seaport and home to many fishing folk.

I don’t know a lot about the fishing industry but I do know one thing.

Fish gotta swim.

As some of you’ve heard, Dolphins have recently been sighted swimming in the bays in Venice, Italy.

And patches of blue sky reveal birds and more in parts of China.

Birds gotta fly.

The domino effect from this global pandemic continues to force us to reassess what and who we value. Mankind isn’t who Jerome Kern had in mind when he penned those lyrics.   But we’re learning we need each other and something in us dies without human connections.

And I believe, we need  to connect with God.

A Tale of Two Cities,  written by Dickens in 1859 during a dark time in history,  still speaks,

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times

it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness,

It was the epoch of belief,

It was the epoch of incredulity,

It was the season of Light

It was the season of Darkness,

It was the spring of hope,

It was the winter of despair.

We had everything before us…”

Wars alter “everything before us” for good or ill.

If we endure and make sacrifices now, both nature and we will breathe easier.

Hopefully, one day we’ll share how the worst of times brought out the best in us and for each other.



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  • Reply James Griffin March 27, 2020 at 5:54 pm

    Perhaps you could find part-time work on a fishing boat!

    • Reply Jan Carlberg March 27, 2020 at 8:50 pm

      I’d rather eat ’em than catch ’em. But I do appreciate how tough and dangerous the work…from what I’ve read.

  • Reply Marty March 27, 2020 at 6:06 pm

    Amen, Sister!

    • Reply Jan Carlberg March 27, 2020 at 8:51 pm

      Keep washing your hands in Michigan, dear Marty and Dale.

  • Reply Robin MacLeod March 27, 2020 at 7:38 pm

    Thank you Jan

    • Reply Jan Carlberg March 27, 2020 at 8:52 pm

      You’re welcome, Robin. We’re in this together.

  • Reply Gail MacDonald March 27, 2020 at 7:41 pm

    Thank you for keeping your rhythms, Jan–even though the days are strange, you aren’t. It’s called commitment and we appreciate that you care enough to help us think things through…with a twinkle in your eye!

    • Reply Jan Carlberg March 27, 2020 at 8:54 pm

      Love hearing from you, Forever Friend. Half the time my eyes seem to be watering these days. Sometimes from hard truths, sometimes from sweet examples of how folks, young and old, are finding unique ways to connect and care.

  • Reply RUSS BISHOP March 27, 2020 at 11:52 pm

    I like your capacious view of hymnody!

    • Reply Jan Carlberg March 28, 2020 at 9:47 am

      And I like that you’ve chosen to read this blog when you’re surrounded by a library of great reading material. Sing in place, Russ.

  • Reply dale March 28, 2020 at 9:38 am

    Thanks Jan,

    We used to ask, “when will the robins show up?” Now, the robins are wondering when the residents will show up! His care for the birds should bring great promise to us.

    Blessings, Dale

    • Reply Jan Carlberg March 28, 2020 at 10:00 am

      It gives me a shot of hopeful perspective when I read Matthew 6 in The Message,”Look at the birds, free and unfettered… carefree in the care of God. And you count far more to Him than birds.”

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