December 29, 2014 by genelup
It is 1964 and I’m sitting in a small neighborhood bar a few blocks away from my Milwaukee apartment. I like this bar because the man makes a hard-hitting brandy manhattan. Also, the juke box only plays classical and soft and easy to listen to music. I’m now listening to one of my all-time favorite songs, Whispering Hope, the instrumental version without anyone singing the words. Although I’ve turned away from my Christian roots a few years ago, this thread of religious hope still connects me to the Almighty.
Whispering hope, oh, how welcome thy voice,
Making my heart in its sorrow rejoice.
As I sip, and I put another nickel in the juke box to listen to Whispering Hope again, I think back two years ago when I was an army officer stationed at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. One hot summer weekend, a few of us officers decided to go to the Lake of the Ozarks to drink, party and check out the girls.
We started to bar-hop. In one noisy bar as the beer flowed freely, I walked to the juke box. Whispering Hope was there — again the instrumental version. I put a coin in the machine. I had to wait until a few other songs were played until The Whispering Hope began playing. The words of the song registered in my head:
Soft as the voice of an angel,
Breathing a lesson unheard,
Hope with a gentle persuasion
Whispers her comforting word
Wait till the darkness is over,
Wait till the tempest is done,
Hope for the sunshine tomorrow,
After the shower is gone.
A man in the bar became outraged. “This is awful,” he shouted. We watched as he pushed the juke box a few inches away from the wall and pulled the plug. Whispering Hope ended. A few people congratulated him for ending the song. He re-plugged the juke box and some other song began playing. People went back to their beers. He didn’t want a soft, mellow song to play but an ear-blasting rock song to drink by.
I stood there and watched. I let him do that to my song. He bullied me. But, did anyone know that it was me who played Whispering Hope?
As I sipped my brandy manhattan in that Milwaukee bar, and played Whispering Hope for the third time, I wished I had stood up to that man and told him to “back off,” it was my song and I wanted to hear it. But I didn’t, and I thought I was too chicken to stand up for my faith, as frail as it was at that time…I ordered another brandy manhattan.
Hope, as an anchor so steadfast,
Rends the dark veil for the soul,
Whither the Master has entered,
Robbing the grave of its goal;
Come then, oh, come, glad fruition,
Come to my sad weary heart;
Come, O Thou blest hope of glory,
Never, oh, never depart.