I’d like to stop the world from turning,
I’d like to pause it with my prayer;
I’d like to turn the clocks to zero,
Do all I can to keep you here;
Silence the marching of the seconds,
That sounds relentless in my ears.
For time is given,
And time is taken away;
The least that we can do
Is make the most of every day.
And we are given
And we are taken away;
The best that we can do
Is give ourselves away.
What good is time if we don’t use it
To find the path within the pain?
Whoever keeps their life will lose it,
Whoever gives their life will gain.
Not just a moment but forever,
This love is stronger than the grave.
A song about grief, loss and the preciousness of life
Most of my work is writing congregational material. In contrast, this is a very personal song about my experience of traveling alongside my brother, Phil, on his journey with terminal cancer.
Many of my songs are carefully crafted, quite intentional in their theme and purpose, and specifically suited to congregational use. This one fell out of nowhere, and was a visceral response to the profound experience of watching someone in the final stages of their life.
I learnt so much from Phil in that time: how his profound faith won through over fear; how he came to value and make the most of every day he was given; and how he put his diminishing energy into the things that really matter. For me, I learnt that there are things I can’t fix; that prayer is often painful, frustrating and confusing, but makes you dig deep and changes you forever; and that what you CAN do is be there.
Phil died in November 2017. But as a family we made a video of the song and the journey we were on several months earlier, and I know it has touched tens of thousands of people. If you haven’t seen it, do check it out.