As we enter our third week of enforced isolation more and more people are finding creative ways to pass the time and reach out to neighbours and loved ones.
Retired science and chemistry teacher Ellaine Downie is in a songwriting group that is given regular assignments to write about. A few months ago, the topic was “make it rain” for the bushfires and Ellaine’s song, 50 Ways To Make It Happen, had the intended effect of providing some comfort for those in fire-ravaged areas.
“I had some contacts down in Gippsland and they passed it on to people down there and it was encouraging for them to know that someone was thinking of them,” Ellaine says.
Ellaine’s latest assignment was to write about grass.
“I thought ‘Oh my goodness, how do you write anything about grass?’,” Ellaine says. “I thought that was a children’s thing, but what does grass mean to adults?
“Then I thought: the whole lying down in the grass, feeling its comfort is kind of what we all need to do to be able to rest and become peaceful in a busy life.
“And then when the virus came I thought what it needed was another verse because we still need to do this to take ourselves away quietly to experience God’s peace.”
What started out as a children’s song, soon morphed into a healing lullaby called BALM.
“The second verse is basically a prayer,” Ellaine says.
“It is kind of encouraging us to do the whole mindfulness thing, separate ourselves for a while and take a quiet time and rest.
“Part of the reason for the song was not just taking time out, but to deal with the idea of anxiety and grief.
“More and more I am realising we are all in a period of grieving, both collectively and individually. We are mourning the loss of jobs and income, the loss of face-to-face time with friends, the loss of community, the loss of touch, the loss of freedoms.
“I hope this song brings people to a quiet place to rest and pray for comfort. The music is slow and gentle. It is a bit like a lullaby at the end, as if God is gently rocking and soothing our anxieties.”
Lay you down oh weary one
Close your eyes, feel the sun
Let the gentle grass caress your skin
Open wide your tired mind
Like a child put pride aside
Feel the simple comfort on your skin
And let the peace of God come deep within
You’ll find the peace of God deep within
Gentle Holy Spirit come
When all is blank, all is numb
Breathe your gentle peace into my soul
Calm my anxious beating heart
Make the fearful thoughts depart
Help me know that You are in control
And pour your soothing balm into my soul
You are the soothing balm for my soul
Music and lyrics Ellaine Downie
Copyright March, 2020