I will sing a new song to you, O God;
upon a ten-stringed harp I will play to you,
the one who gives victory to kings,
who rescues his servant David. (Psalm 144:9-10, NRSV)
In my not-so-distant past life I spent my days as a nanny caring for three spunky, questioning, fierce little girls. Like many parents and caregivers, my days looked more like Driving Miss Daisy than Mary Poppins, because I spent most of my time in some sort of carpool line. The youngest of my charges missed the age cutoff for many of the activities, so she spent much of her time in the car with me waiting on her big sisters.
One afternoon, groggy from a half-nap, my usually precious three year old nannykin turned into an evil dictator and demanded a new song to listen to while we waited in the carpool line. I was happy to oblige, because I had reached my limit of the old VBS CD that had taken up residence in my CD player. As I flipped through new song choices, she would cry out, “NOOOOOOOO! That’s NOT it! I need something NEW!”
I flipped through every radio station and every CD, as she grew more agitated by the minute. I even tried to make up some songs to get her back to her usual carefree self.
“Oh, this is a happy day, and we’re sitting in the carpool line, HEY!,” I sang.
“NO! That’s not it! A NEW SONG,” she cried as she pelted me with stale goldfish from underneath her carseat.
I looked in the rearview mirror, half expecting to see pea soup coming at me, but instead she resembled a melodramatic silent film star with the back of her hand resting on her forehead.
I decided to give one last ditch effort to appease the tiny diva, and I played one of our old favorite CDs to fake her out. Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” came through the speakers and she immediately started singing and dancing along. “This is it! This is my new song,” she cheered.
“But, we’ve listened to this a million times,” I said, “this isn’t new.”
“Oh,” she said, “Well. Maybe I’s just gots new ears.”
The more I think about it, the more I believe that my tiny fruitsnack -hoarding guru was on to something.
I’m weary of hearing the same old promises of hope in response to the same old stories of despair. My praises have become platitudes. It’s time for a new song, for sure, but I wonder if we should start with truths that we have heard over and over, with a new readiness to transform our hearts. If I am to sing a new song, maybe I should start with trying on some new ears.