Click to hear an audio recording of: “Why I Sing in the Dark” by Lisa-Jo, The Gypsy Mama

Sometimes a song drops into your soul.

And it’s as warm as the sun shining out of the chaos at midnight as a friend tic, tack, toe types beauty out of bedlam by the nightstand light as her nose drops below her keyboard and her hands never sleep.

It’s shared snicker bars at 2am and a bus load of people waiting to love you in the morning through the suffering you are about to experience. It’s the drip, drop echo of rain and the mother who sleeps awake ready to rescue her kids from the muddy floods. Again.

Take it to the bridge and the great wide divide between us and them that is hairline thin and wide as the ocean.

Hotel bathrooms with deep tubs that embrace and wash and repeat the day away to the strains of Skype calls from far away farms. It’s small boys that kiss and smooch and hug the computer screen you are separated by and mamas who hoot and holler at their fart jokes because they understand the language of love when spoken by toddlers.

There’s the rhythm of love that undergirds it all. The steady bass beat of the heart that keeps time when all around the rest of the melody might be lost in moldy, week old everything recycled by the hands of desperate dads.

Lean back your head and listen to the sky.

Vultures rock the crisp blue notes and the white, white clouds seem stark contrast to the black hollow that would eat the world if it could. But The Word has gone out and will never return void. The notes play on and over and above it all and it is the refrain of hope.


A single note sounding in the neighborhood where music long since left along with the wealthy and the living.

But pastors pluck it out faithfully and volunteers gather and sing and their voices raise the roof with hot lunches and kids who line up to learn how to brush their teeth after they have re-learned what it feels like to be full.

We make music. We praise His name with dancing and make music to him with tambourine words and our harp paragraphs. And small feet lead the way. And small hands raise in happy chorus and answer stories about their lives and we listen in awe – mesmerized by their song.

Sometimes a song drops into your soul and musician or not you must sing it.

Delayed flights and lives and intersections with three boys you dream your kids will grow up to be are only the first soaring notes. When He writes you into the score, you must learn to sing. And He will make the harmony.

So I raise my trembling voice cracked with a salty week and gaze up away from my inadequate feet, and lean back into Him. This desperate-to-be-the-disciple-He-loved, girl from the land of in between, I will sing for Him.

I will sing a new song.

Of sunshine that seeps into dark places and new days that can’t be lanced by poverty.  Of the power of pen and paper and postage stamp. Of hearts forged anew and eyes that can see beyond their borders for maybe the first time.

I will sing till my throat is raw and the melody cracked and only one note remains.



And a crescendo of love.



Now, these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Corn 13:13.

{With thanks to Keely for the remarkable photos.}