The Blessing I Shall Ask

For countless days a song has been popping into my head. In truth, it happens at night as well. It’s origin is from the musical movie version of “Good-bye Mr. Chips.” I will admit that I am not well versed in this movie or the novel that inspired it. I am curious about the story after searching a bit about the song, but as of yet cannot comment about the book or the movie. There’s time for that another day.

For me personally the song originated many years ago in my home church. My dad had heard a woman sing at the Crystal Cathedral in California and had invited her to come to Nebraska. She came numerous times over many years and her voice filled the auditorium. She sang with a smooth, powerful voice and carried herself with a gracious poise. Her name is Algetha and I can still hear her voice and picture her face. I tried unsuccessfully to find a recording of her singing this song as I prefer her version to any I have been able to find.

Side note: A memory I have of one of Algetha’s visits was the fear I had when I was told I may need to accompany her at the piano. This was more than this high schooler wanted to take on and I was so relieved when Mrs. Witt was available and could more than fill the need.

Anyway…

The lyrics to the song are quite simple. I am not a song writer so I don’t know how lyricists would critique this particular song. I would imagine the simplicity and repetitive theme play a part in why it has stuck with me. I also know Algetha is part of the reason. 🙂 But for whatever reason, and I’m sure my life circumstances play a part, it has been on auto play for some time now.


Did I Fill the World with Love, by Leslie Bricusse

In the morning of my life I shall look to the sunrise.
At a moment in my life when the world is new.
And the blessing I shall ask is that God will grant me,
To be brave and strong and true,
And to fill the world with love my whole life through.
brave1
(Chorus)
And to fill the world with love
And to fill the world with love
And to fill the world with love my whole life through

In the noontime of my life I shall look to the sunshine,
At a moment in my life when the sky is blue.
And the blessing I shall ask shall remain unchanging.
To be brave and strong and true,
And to fill the world with love my whole life through
strong1
(Chorus)

In the evening of my life I shall look to the sunset,
At a moment in my life when the night is due.
And the question I shall ask only I can answer.
Was I brave and strong and true?
Did I fill the world with love my whole life through?

true1


Life is full of a lot of daily stuff. There is a lot of stuff that clutters each day and distracts from purpose and goals. In those distractions it seems easy to justify actions and reactions. Focus can become distorted and alternate purposes and justifications suddenly become truth. Or so it seems. It seems all too often our own agendas dictate our actions and reactions and if examined, self is at the core.

In no way am I denying responsibility and accountability. Life demands both, in my opinion.

However…

Did I fill the world with love my whole life through?

It’s a simple question. Obviously, I can focus on the definitive nature of this question and answer with a no. My whole life through — seems a bit extreme or unattainable.

So, what to do with this question? What to do with this song that continues to run through my mind?

It seems a bit easier to deal with the brave, strong and true questions as there is no qualifier attached to these qualities. Well, technically there is no qualifier. But as I ponder the song, the question is asked at the morning, noontime and evening of my life. It would appear the writer and singer and in my case, listener, is seeking answers that involve longevity, consistency, sincerity.

As I hear the song in my head, I replay “To be brave and strong and true” and the word true is held a bit longer.It stands out a bit to me. It is not to be overlooked. It strikes me that perhaps the composer/lyricist was wanting some emphasis placed on that word. To be true or genuine, steadfast or loyal…not a bad quality, especially if you are seeking to fill the world with love.

love1

If you know me at all, you should know I’m not trying to be trite or cliche. I’m not trying to over simplify. I’m asking myself for the blessing and asking the question. I am past the morning of my life. But while it is noontime, I will ask to be brave and strong and true, and to fill the world with love…my whole life through.



While I could not find a copy of Algetha singing this song, and I much prefer her rendition, I do appreciate this choral arrangement by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir:

And if you want a smile, here is the movie clip featuring Petula Clark:

I’m pretty sure I will be finding a copy of this movie and the book. 🙂

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