remembering dad with song

It is a big day today. It is one year since my father died.

Sometimes I wish I could rewind those final days, play them again, and slow them down. It is all such a blur. I had no idea that everything would happen so quickly. On a Friday we realised the end was coming. He died on Wednesday. The funeral was on the Monday. I wish I had lingered longer. Goodness me, I was in the middle of a conversation with him about my future - a conversation that will never finish now. It must be so hard for people who have no warning, for whom the death of those they love comes suddenly.

They were unparalleled days of experiencing God's care and help. Between death and funeral I had to slip across the Tasman to speak at a Mission Conference in the Blue Mountains. It was not right to abandon them at such a late hour. I remember arriving back home early Sunday evening, waking at 2.30am and working for 7 straight hours on my message for the funeral. I felt 'carried along by the Spirit' with that sense of God popping words and ideas into my head...

I miss him. I am grateful to family and friends who have let me keep talking about him. That has been important. I miss the soft face, the lingering hug and the reassurance that he loved me and was proud of me. But life goes on. Nine months after he died, his first great grandson (Micah) was born and all of a sudden, it seems, I became Grandpa Windsor. Oh, how Dad would love to have cuddled that little boy...

Rather surprisingly, the thing that has helped me the most has been listening to Dad singing some old hymns in a recording he made for his mother some thirty years ago. In a labour of love, my brother Mark put heaps of his music on disc for us to enjoy. I know they are giggle-territory for younger people, but I've loved the simple spirituality, the deep consecration, and the tender intensity in them. These qualities marked Dad's life and as I listen my prayer is that they will mark mine as well.

The Burden Bearer (listen to Dad sing it here)
Is there a heart that is willing
To lay burdens on Jesus’ breast?
He is so loving and gentle and true
– come unto him and rest.

Lord it is I who need Thy love
Need Thy strength and pow’r.
O keep me, use me, and hold me fast
Each moment, each day, each hour.

Is there a heart that is lonely today,
Needing a faithful friend?
Jesus will always keep close by your side,
Loving you to the end.

Is there a heart that is longing to bring
Blessing to some lost soul?
Jesus is willing the weakest to use,
Let him Thy life control.

I Have a Saviour (listen to it here)
I have a Saviour, He died for me
In cruel anguish on Calvary’s tree.
I do not merit such love divine,
Only God’s mercy makes 
Jesus mine.

Jesus, my Saviour, I come to Thee
In full surrender Thine own to be.

I have a Keeper, He now prevails,
I fear no evil whate’er assails.
His arms enfold me, safe and secure,
In His blest keeping victory is sure.

I have a Master, He bids me go
Rescue lost sinners from fear and woe.
I love to serve Him, this Master true,
Now I am willing His will to do.

Longings (listen to it here)
I long to know Thee better, day by day,
I want to draw much closer when I pray;
To listen more intently for Thy voice,
To let the things Thou choosest, be my choice.

I long to serve Thee better, hour by hour,
Depending more entirely on Thy power;
I want to know more fully all Thy will,
To count upon each promise and be still.

I long to find new beauties in Thy word,
To follow in the footsteps of my Lord;
And, oh, the dearest longing through Thy grace,
Is that mine eyes may see Thee face to face.

So Send I You (listen to Dad sing it here)
So send I you to labour unrewarded,
To serve unpaid, unloved, unsought, unknown,
To bear rebuke, to suffer scorn and scoffing;
So send I you to toil for Me alone.

So send I you to bind the bruised and broken,
O’er wand’ring souls to work, to weep, to wake,
To bear the burdens of a world aweary;
So send I you to suffer for My sake.

So send I you to loneliness and longing,
With heart ahung’ring for the loved and known,
Forsaking home and kindred, friend and loved ones;
So send I you to know My love alone.

As the Father has sent me, so send I you. 

[Thanks to my former Carey colleague, Tim Bulkeley, for helping me embed these mp3 files!]

nice chatting

Paul Windsor


not a wild hera said…
My goodness, Paul, what a voice! It brings to life those newspaper reviews of your Dad's oratorio performances in the book. Wonderful. And the phrasing!

Your Dad's book has lingered with me over these weeks and I am very glad to have it.

Thinking of you and yours in the long, long journey that is grief. And also in the long joy of new life.
Paul said…
Glad you enjoyed the songs, tkr. They seem to be improved in quality here and I was so pleased to get Tim's help that made it possible.

I am in Hong Kong where a typhoon approaches - UGH!

What a wonderful treasure to have these recordings of your dad. That is quite a musician and quite a set of lungs you hear coming through those recordings.

thanks for sharing with the rest of us!
Tim Bulkeley said…
What a lovely voice, and clear recordings, hasn't taste in music changed in a couple of generations. Though we had the pleasure of listening to a stradivarius being played last night, in Tauranga!

I had quite forgotten being involved (back in 2012 when live here was still pretty new for us).
Greg and Sarah said…
Wow Paul, such a treasure to have these recordings preserved. My grandma used to tell me stories of waiting for him at the hospital but knowing he was on his was as his voice carried down the corridor, singing hymns at the top of his lungs. Such a blessing. Love you, Sarah

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