I was about six years old when the filmed stage production of Peter Pan aired on national television. I remember watching in awe as Mary Martin ala Peter flew over the stage and sang her famous songs that I still can sing as if it were only yesterday. I am sure if I were to view the film now, it would seem both awkward and contrived, but back in the day no one knew about Pixar and special effects other than the Disney folks so you can imagine the impact that flying humans made. And speaking of imaginations, I also believe, that unlike children of today, our imaginations were actually a muscle that we exercised quite frequently. No one questioned the fact that Tinkerbell was really just a sound and a light that moved across the stage. This was perfectly acceptable to the baby boomer generation because we all undersood that no one has really ever seen a fairy, have they?
Oddly enough, the song from Peter Pan that I have carried so close to my heart to this day is the lullaby that Mrs.Darling sang to Wendy and the boys every night in their upper story nursery. It is the very lovely and very simple ballad, Tender Shepherd. It made a deep impression upon me. Through the years I vividly remember singing this song in the back of a station wagon with my cousins, both of whom had beautiful voices. They suffered greatly through my off-key renderings and hideous attempts at harmony on more than one occasion, but despite their best attempts to teach me, I remain woefully deficient in the pitch department. I have always laughingly concurred that I "make a joyful noise unto the Lord!" Yet I somehow managed to sing (or butcher) this lullaby to my own children each night when I put them to bed during their own growing up years. Nothing could be more fitting as they were my very own Darlings, of course!
I even added another short verse which my daughter was surprised to find was not part of the original version. Mothers are always full of surprises. The added verse was borne out of desperation when my children were clamoring for more Tender Shepherd, an excuse I now understand was simply a ploy not to have to close their eyes quite yet. This additional section (you can hardly call it a verse) is listed below.
It is not odd how the simplest things become the most profound memories? From a childhood memory of a televised play probably only seen once or twice, came the sound of a sweet lullaby that would comfort my own children on their journey toward their dreams, and this selfsame lullaby is now comforting Little One as she finds her way to the secret world of sleep with all the promise that it holds. May you dream sweet dreams Little One, for your Tender Shepherd in Heaven is indeed watching over you.
Tomorrow is another day
For you to run and jump and play,
Close your eyes,
Close your eyes
Tender Shepherd, tender shepherd,
Let me help you count your sheep
I am thankful that He has not only counted His sheep,
but He has redeemed them by the precious Blood of the Lamb.