Scrapbook of My Heart
For a season, earlier in my life, songs seemed to ooze out of me.
It wasn’t as if I could control the process. To be completely honest, the process actually controlled me. I would sense the gathering of energy inside, growing and pressing against my being from within – a captive seeking an escape route. Finding quiet time to be creative during those years was sometimes a challenge, but once I was able to set life’s concerns aside and pop a tape into my mini voice recorder, lines of verse would flow from me with melody already attached.
It was a strangely beautiful experience – a mystery, really. It was as if the words and notes were coming through me from somewhere beyond, where the whole thing was already a thing – it’s just that no one had heard it yet. Songs were birthed from my own losses and celebrations, some marking my growth along the journey of faith, and some betraying all that I had yet to learn.
This song isn’t my first, but it’s one that I’ve carried very close to my heart. I wrote it after my cousin Erin died suddenly in a tragic kayaking accident. It poured out of me over the course of weeks, maybe months. Bizarrely, I remember that it all came together one day after a workout at the Yuma Racquet Club.
This is one of the few songs I actually recorded. I put my meager keyboard skills to work on my kids’ electric keyboard and recorded it all on cassette with a Fisher Price tape recorder in the toy room of our home (the kind with the microphone attached on the side – remember those?). Several months after Erin’s death, I gave the tape to my aunt and uncle. I’m not really sure how they responded? They were still grieving hard at the time. But I knew the song wasn’t just for me.
And today it’s for you, too
Scrapbook of My Heart
I’m looking at your picture
in a scrapbook bound with thread.
A child then, your face
it brings back memories of friends
and family, so close to me,
a past so long ago.
Have I lost touch with part of me
while in a rush to grow?
Late night walks,
all night talks,
sleds and swimming pools,
homemade root beer floats
and some berry picking, too.
Puppy dogs and polliwogs,
building forts out in the woods.
Seems like yesterday –
won’t you come and play?
I think we grew up way too soon.
I’ve lived the life,
held the job,
played with all the toys.
I’ve sought to fill my time and life
with excesses and noise.
Afraid of what the quiet times
may tell me about me.
I’ve lived so fast that I’ve left my past
in scrapbooks just like these.
I remember you as you were then,
don’t know where you are now,
but once upon a time we shared
a friendship and a love.
And if by chance you hear this song
and remember my face, too –
in the Scrapbook of My Heart
I wrote this song for you.
~ Brita Hammit
(Well) Versed is a blog series written by Brita Hammit, a spiritual companion/director and women’s ministry leader in Phoenix, AZ.
Scrapbook of My Heart © 2023 Brita Hammit
This is so amazing ! The words truly flowed out of you in such a beautiful way!
I was always in ‘a rush to grow’! Many factors contributed to that. Perspective is something children lack since it requires experience. So that is the role of parents and influential adults. Some children listen. Most of us don’t.
Thank you, Julie!
What is it about that “rush to grow” with kids – teens especially? We’re SO eager to reach the next milestone that we often fail to savor the in-between moments that add up to… life! I guess I haven’t outgrown that resistance to being present, but I do want to help the young people in my life see the beauty of the season they’re in. In your words – to share perspective with those who need it most.
Great words, my friend! Thank you for sharing!
Beautiful words, Brita. I would love to hear the music. Would that be something you could share?
Let me get back to you on that, Tenaya! I’m pretty sure I gave away the only copy of my home recording, but it could be recreated (hopefully in higher quality – but I still have the Fisher Price cassette player in the closet)…
This made me cry Brita. Especially wondering what I have lost of myself trying to grow up too fast!
I share those tears, Judy 🤍
The evening group I’m working with did an exercise last night that might resonate with you:
Think back to a time before you had been wounded by life – before your first big loss, trauma, disappointment. Picture that “past you” in your mind – what was she like? What do you like about her? What about her makes you smile? Can you find those qualities in today’s “you?” How might you recover some of the good stuff you left behind?
Of course this made me cry. Remembering the loss is hard, that you were able to put into words the feelings of those days spent together has always eased the pain. I know your being there for your aunt and uncle helped them make it through those days when none of us really knew what to do. I hear your voice singing these words as I sit here tonight. Love, Mom
Thank you so much, Mom 🤍 Your words are balm to my spirit tonight, and confirmation that this song – this verse – came through me for others. I needed to hear that more than you know. I love you!
Brita this is beautiful! Thank you for sharing this part of you. I always look forward to time spent with you, it makes my heart happy!
Cathy, your words are a gift to me! I love the way God connects us with people whose presence brings us joy. You’re one of those people for me, too!