Grateful and Blessed

I woke up during the night with the song How Great Thou Art reverberating throughout my body and soul. It was one of those dreams that was so much more than a dream, or maybe it wasn’t a dream at all. I felt grateful and blessed.

I heard that song for the first time in 1962 when George Beverly Shea sang it during a Billy Graham crusade my mother and I attended. I was in 10th grade at the time and we were living at Ft. Shafter Army Base in Honolulu, Hawaii. That experience was a major turning point in my life. While it wasn’t the beginning of my spiritual life, it certainly was the beginning of a new chapter.

I woke up several times during the night with that “dream” in the forefront of my mind. Again, I felt grateful and blessed. My sleep ended at 4 a.m. when I started thinking of events that had occurred early in my life. I remembered being really young (5 years old?) and loving the Christian music my father’s mother sang to me when my family visited her in New Jersey. As I thought about those times, the words “church in the vale” and later “little brown church in the vale” came into my mind. I don’t remember if that was a song my grandmother introduced me to, but it certainly could have been.

I decided to write a post about my dream and the reflections that followed it so I got up. I looked for YouTube videos of both songs. The video I chose for How Great Thou Art was recorded in 1957, several years before I heard the magnificent song for the first time. It was probably recorded during a Billy Graham crusade. Wikipedia says the song “is a Christian hymn based on a Swedish traditional melody and a poem written by Carl Boberg in Mönsterås, Sweden in 1885.”

The other song is called the Church in the Wildwood or The Little Brown Church. The video I’m sharing for that one is of Andy Griffith, Don Knotts and Robert Emhardt singing it in a 1963 show. That song was written by Dr. William S. Pitts in 1857.


The image at the top of the post was taken by Kevin Phillips from Pixabay.

9 thoughts on “Grateful and Blessed

  1. Hmm, love this post AND it brought up a memory or tremendous disillusionment for me.

    Probably around the same year, I went to a Billy Graham crusade thing at Balboa Stadium in San Diego. I must have been 13. At the point in the “show” when they called for people to come down onto the field to “accept Jesus as their savior”, along with hundreds of others, I was moved to make the long trek down toward the podium. When I returned to my seat, full of the ecstasy of being “born again”, I found my belongings rifled through and all my babysitting money (probably over $50, a huge amount for me at that time) had been stolen from my purse. I called it my Life Savings! Everyone in my whole church group had left their purses but only mine had been messed with. I was crushed.

    I even wrote Dr. Graham what I’m sure was a poignant letter, thinking he could actually do something about this travesty. No response, of course.

    I had to fight for years to emotionally disconnect that event from “Christianity”.

    Judging from the tone of my comment, apparently I was unsuccessful. 😜

    Thanks for sharing your dream and this music.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can understand why you would react that way. I’m not surprised he didn’t pay it back, but I am surprised he didn’t write you. I wonder if anyone showed him your letter.

      My disillusionment didn’t start until I was in college… and it lasted at least 20 years. During that time I described myself as being somewhere between an agnostic and an atheist. I wanted nothing to do with spirituality. One of the first things that happened when I met Amma is I was able to separate Jesus from the Christian church. And several years later I was able to work through a lot of my anger at the church.


  2. Thanks for sharing your inspired dream and I love the how great thou are song – but not so much that version – even tho the singing was great and it was nice to see the era –
    And the second song was a great too – simple harmonizing we the cigar man enters and gets transformed –
    Cool post


    1. I’m glad you liked it and I really appreciate you commenting! My favorite version of How Great Thou Art is a later one, still by him, but I also liked seeing the era in this video.

      Sent from my iPhone


      Liked by 1 person

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