“Come Thou Fount”

When I type, I sometimes let my thumbs take turns at the spacebar. It depends how fast I type, which depends on my train of thought. Am I raring to go, or do I have to pause every few words? See, my right thumb is used to dominating the spacebar. If I’m typing quickly, my right thumb involuntarily, reflexively taps the spacebar. If I have to stop and think for a second, my left thumb gets a turn, and it generally feels pretty good, like I’m ambidextrous, because my left upper limb and its digits are practically vestigial, and the slower, meditative push with my thumb is different than the tasks I usually give it, like helping hold things when my right hand is busy. It might also be good for hitchhiking – I haven’t tried that yet. Also, thumb wrestling, but no where near as adept as Righty. Yet.

This evening after Institute class, quite a few of us stayed after to play volleyball (and this was after I rehearsed with the Institute choir because someone asked if I could sing, and I said “alto” and I was basically the lone alto until the girl with the solo joined me in the chorus of “O Holy Night” because I can be social when I feel like it but I also knew I wouldn’t be able to perform because I have a prior commitment but it was nice singing anyway and I wanted some physical activity which also happens to be a convenient way to observe people and get to know them without actually having to talk much). We rotated players in for each time teams changed servers.

So I was on the court sometime during the third or fourth game, left net. Volleyball is not my sport of choice, mostly because, well, it favors tall people. I can set and bump just fine, and I can hustle and dig, but I am definitely not the most comfortable at the net. I laugh when I put my arms up in blocking position, because I know that’s not me, and I just don’t have the ups. So when the serve lobbed over and back and the ball arced its way in a wonky parabola to my part of the court, and when my elbows weren’t bent just so, putting my thumbs more vertical than in a proper setting position, the ball landed hard on my left thumb and jammed it.

And now my left thumb just sits, hesitant, distrustful. It hurts to put any sort of pressure on it; it hurts to stretch my fingers to see how big my hand is. As I’m typing, my right thumb gets carried away,virtually dancing on the spacebar, almost mocking Lefty. Occasionally I reprimand Righty and give the left thumb a few chances to push the spacebar ever so gingerly. I should hope full-functionality returns, albeit slowly.

Sometimes I feel like my left thumb: bruised, a little less confident, therefore a little less valued. As I’ve sometimes set my left hand aside so my right hand could do the more “important” things “correctly,” at times I’ve resigned to aloofness, giving others the spotlight, the attention they deserve so much more than I. Then, even given simple tasks, my left thumb still gets hurt, as I do in my shortcomings, and the pain often feeds into greater weakening, lesser self-esteem, deeper not-good-enough-ness.

But, sometimes, I feel like my left thumb: hopeful, fixable, healable, lovable – deserving love; eager, ready to serve in any capacity, regardless of relative skill or coordination. Building sureness, boldness; ever determined, grateful, and indebted for whatever help comes my way. A continually waxing belief that I have worth, a great price.

“Come Thou Fount” finishes that list of songs I began back in April – the ones I can’t live without.

To recap the previous nine:

Samuel Barber, Adagio for Strings

Indigo Girls, “Galileo”

Bee Gees, “Stayin’ Alive”

Arvo Pärt, Spiegel im Spiegel

10,000 Maniacs, “These Are Days”

Ennio Morricone, “Gabriel’s Oboe” – The Mission Soundtrack

Kermit the Frog, “The Rainbow Connection”

Patty Griffin, “Mary”

Black Eyed Peas Featuring Justin Timberlake, “Where Is The Love”

“Come Thou Fount” fits. Everything about it appeals to me: that itself is an appeal, a prayer, a supplication, a testimony; that the simple melody builds to the same part of every verse before it descends as it began. It’s brilliant, inspiring. It radiates hope and optimism. It attests to and embodies the Atonement.

I hope the thumb analogy works, especially as it correlates to the hymn.



Come, thou fount of every blessing,

Tune my heart to sing thy grace;

Streams of mercy, never ceasing,

Call for songs of loudest praise.

Teach me some melodious sonnet,

Sung by flaming tongues above.

Praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it,

Mount of thy redeeming love.

Here I raise my Ebenezer;

Here by thy great help I’ve come;

And I hope, by thy good pleasure,

Safely to arrive at home.

Jesus sought me when a stranger,

Wandering from the fold of God;

He, to rescue me from danger,

Interposed His precious blood.

O to grace how great a debtor

Daily I’m constrained to be!

Let thy goodness, like a fetter,

Bind my wandering heart to thee.

Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,

Prone to leave the God I love;

Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,

Seal it for thy courts above.