Today you don’t hear too many people saying “Glory, Glory” as part of our daily dictum. When Grandmother Wilson said it …it was usually on two different occasions…1) Something unexpectedly good had happened and she would throw her arms up in the air and yell out “Glory, Glory” while looking upward. 2) Or if something bad went down she would shake her head and holding it in her hands utter “Glory, Glory…this too shall pass.”
So obviously, as a child, I was a little confused whether “Glory” was something good or bad. When the preacher talked about “Glory” it usually meant heaven which I figured was a good thing so I kind of just left it at that.
Today we see famous paintings by the Renaissance artists portraying their ideas on how “Glory” looks …at least in their eyes. The only time I ever used the word was when I sang it…the refrain in the “Battle Hymn of the Republic.” It is something so stirring about that melody that it becomes immortalized in our memory.
Julia Ward Howe remembered years later that she had awakened around dawn in her room in Willard’s Hotel with the lyrics floating in her head. It was November 1861, and she was on her first trip to wartime Washington, with her husband and her minister.
The day before she had heard union soldiers singing “John Brown’s Body” as the carriage entered wartime Washington. Her pastor challenged her to compose and publish another song since she was much the better lyricist. She took the challenge.
Now, in the dim morning light of her hotel room, new words began to form.
Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored.
How many of you, like me, can hardly wait to get to the refrain in the Battle Hymn of the Republic to sing/shout out “Glory, Glory, Hallelujah, Glory Glory Hallelujah, Glory Glory Hallelujah…His truth goes marching on.”
What really has stuck with me (as an impressionable teenager at the time) was an incident caught on television around the country and/or world regarding Bobby Kennedy’s funeral. Some of you might remember this….
On June 8, 1968, as the 21-car funeral car bearing the body of assassinated U.S. Sen. Robert F. Kennedy from New York to Washington crept through Baltimore, a lone mourner in the crowd began slowly singing, Mine eyes have seen the glory . . .
Others in the throng of stricken bystanders picked up the lyrics and the melody:
Glory, glory, hallelujah
Glory, glory, hallelujah.
Soon, as millions watched on television, thousands of people lining the tracks were singing Julia Ward Howe’s century-old lyrics — somehow still fitting, and comforting, as an American song of grief.
So until tomorrow…Whether we think of glory as a place we hope to go to one day, or as a special honor, a magnificence of great beauty or even as a verb…glorying (taking great pride or pleasure) in my morning glories each day during the late spring, summer, and early fall…Glory is a word that stands alone….”Glory to God in the highest!”
“Today is my favorite day” Winnie the Pooh
*When I get back from Pawleys you will find me planting morning glory seeds..“Glory Glory! Spring is coming!”