I’ve written two songs in my life. The first was a cooperative effort at a summer music camp, making fun of the camp leaders (in a nice way … we thought). The other was inspired by someone I knew, and a piece of music. The piece is called Birth of a New Day, and was composed by my father-in-law, John Brakstad, over 20 years ago. I’ve heard it many times, but yesterday at brandpractice at the Oslo Temple, I got to play it for the first time, and it still stirs up very special memories.
We got to know S. through my father-in-law. It’s easy to idealise in retrospect – but there was something about her. She was one of those people who are easy to be around, always interested in other people’s lives, smiling a lot, the natural focus-point – but not in an arrogant way, just caring and comfortable to be with, and not least positive. But S. had advanced cancer, and throughout the time I knew her, she was fighting her private battle against illness and pain. We only saw one side of that battle – her unshakeable faith in God, her positivity and hope. What demons she had to struggle with when we weren’t there she never let on. But this was the background for Birth of a New Day. It’s a piece about life and death, about conflict and hope, about the final victory over everything that is painful in this world. And it’s a piece about love, about warmth, about dreams that we can dream together, even in the midst of pain. Because God has promised us a new day, a day where darkness will be no more, and He himself will shine for us.
And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light.
(The Revelation of John 22:5)
My reaction to the piece was probably influenced by the fact that my own mother had lost her battle with cancer just a short time before. siden. But when I heard that beautiful melody in the middle section, the words just seemed to come to me:
Many times the light shone dimly,
And Christ seemed not there.
I struggled with helplessness, with pain and despair.
In the East the sky was greying –
The first light of dawn!
Though I lived in darkness, the light of Christ still shone!
After a while I wrote verses that fitted before and after – but I had to ‘write’ those, while these words just seemed to write themselves. And in all the years afterwards, through all my darkest moments, difficulties, confusion or sorrow, they have followed me. We walk towards a new day. A day that will never be dark.
Now I walk towards the sunrise –
Though my world is grey,
I know at the end I’ll reach the eternal day.
I will need no other light there,
For there’ll be no night:
There’ll be no more darkness, for Christ will be my light.
In the end, S. had to let this life go. But the faith, the hope and the humour that she spread around her, even in life’s darkest moments, lives on. Thanks for the memories.
You can hear the music here, recorded by Manger Musikklag: Birth of a New Day – Soundcloud