Now I lay me down to sleep,
The Little Girl knelt by her bed, hands folded, eyes closed. Soon, dreams would scroll across her eyelids, and recurring hope would fill her heart. Father was off to war, and had been gone for quite some time. The Little Girl was too young to understand much about how time worked, but she knew enough to know that he had been gone longer than she’d like. She dreamed of him returning, wrapping his strong arms around her as he whisked her off her feet and hoisted her up on his shoulders. Mother was strong for her, but she still missed Father.
I pray the Lord my soul to keep;
Father was entrenched in battle. Bunkered down with his foxhole brothers, the fire fight was loud and heavy. The stench of smoke, mud, and death all around, the Father wanted nothing more than to return home to his family. He closed his eyes, hoping to block out the cannon blasts, the screaming, the orders…but to no avail. He needed to fight. He grabbed his rifle beside him and carefully raised his head above the rim of the fox hole. He aimed at the enemy. Each squeeze of the trigger, he felt he lost a bit more of himself. All he wanted was to hold his Little Girl once again.
Angels watch me through the night,
The Little Girl’s life seemed normal. She’d help Mother around the house and play with Baby Brother when he was bothersome to Mother. Schoolwork would happen throughout the day, but she’d often find herself looking out the window, daydreaming, thinking about the slowly fading memories she had of her Father. Wanting nothing more than for him to return home safe, unharmed, and soon.
And wake me with the morning light.
Father had been gone for far too long. Battle weary, yet brave, he marched into his Commanding Officers headquarters. He pleaded for a return home. He explained how long he’d been gone. He’d fought bravely, he’d served his country well. It was time to return to his family. Surprisingly, the Commanding Officer heeded his request. Father would return home.
Now I wake to see the light,
The plane landed on Friendly soil. The Father breathed a sigh of relief and shed a tear for his comrades who hadn’t come home alive. He’d have to undergo a full two-day debrief before he’d be released to his family. Two days too long he surmised. But he chose gratitude that he was home, he’d see his Little Girl soon enough.
As God has kept me through the night;
Two days felt like an eternity, but the moment had finally arrived. Whisked away by a guiding soldier, he was marched through security detail to his awaiting family. The door opened, a bright light peered in through the window behind. He could make out the silhouette of his wife and his two children. He choked back tears as he ran towards them. His heart full, his mind focused, his emotions flowing. The war behind, his family ahead. He quickened his pace, dropped his bags, and awaited their embrace.
And now I lift my voice to pray,
The Little Girl grabbed her Father’s neck as hard as she possibly could. Partly to show him how much she loved him, partly to keep him there as long as she could. She didn’t want to lose him to the war again. Father kissed his Little Girl’s forehead. “I missed you, dear child.” He said. “I missed you too, Father.” The Little Girl responded. “I thought of you all the time while I was away. From the moment I woke in the morning til I laid my head down to sleep, I never stopped loving you, thinking of you, praying for the day we’d be together again.” He lovingly declared. “Me too Father, I’d pray each night before I’d go to sleep that somehow, somewhere, you’d be safe, that the Lord would protect your soul, that the Angels would watch over you, and that someday, we’d be together again.”
That Thou wilt keep me through the day.
United once again, Father and his family joined hands as they walked towards their car. Returning home would be bitter sweet. The war still raged, but for now, the Father’s family was together. Upon arriving home, The Little Girl, this time with her Father, knelt beside her bed. They thought of all the other Little Girls and Boys whose Fathers wouldn’t be returning home. They wept for them, and sent a final prayer…
Lord for those laid down to sleep,
We pray the Lord, their Soul to keep;
If they should die before they ‘wake,
We pray the Lord, their Soul to take.