the anchor holds

“The anchor holds, though the ship is battered. The anchor holds, though the sails are torn. I have fallen on my knees as I faced the raging seas. The anchor holds in spite of the storm.”

Lawrence Chewning wrote The Anchor Holds in 1992 during a period of deep depression in his life, but another musical friend Ray Boltz shortened the lyrics and gave the song a lyrical bridge in 1993. The piece, published in 1994 on a Ray Boltz album, was a signature song that was #1 on the national Inspiration charts for three weeks in 1995.

Chewning was born in 1949 and grew up in Lee County, South Carolina on a cotton farm according to his bio. He became a songwriter, singer, speaker and was the pastor of a non-denominational church in Clinton, Massachusetts for sixteen years. Chewning accepted a position as a social worker for the State of South Carolina in 1994 –  working in foster care, child protective services,  as an adoption specialist – until his retirement from the state in 2018. He and his wife live in Florence, South Carolina where he continues to travel with his songs and preaching. (Florence is coincidentally 85 miles northeast of Columbia where Pretty and I live.)

The Anchor Holds was unknown to me until recently when one of my Richards, Texas childhood friends, Tinabeth, sent me a link to the song covered by Shara McKee on what else but YouTube. The lyrics and melody have haunted me every day for weeks. That happens to me sometimes with songs Alexa plays for me in my private concerts when Pretty is out of the house on a mission.

“I’ve had visions, I’ve had dreams. I’ve even held them in my hand. But I never knew they would slip right through like they were only grains of sand…I have been young but I’m older now, and there has been beauty these eyes have seen. But it was in the night through the storms of my life, that’s where God proved His love for me.”

Like the song says I’ve had my share of visions and dreams slip through my hands to never be held again. Occasionally I can dimly remember young but I’m definitely older now – actually turning seventy-four tomorrow.  I have also seen so much beauty in my travels with Pretty who always prefers an adventurous trip to find beauties wherever they are. Sometimes they are closer to us, though, even close enough to touch.

But it has been in the night through the storms of my life that I have found an anchor, an ability to stay the course regardless of the cost or loss. For Lawrence Chewning and for my friend Tinabeth, their faith in God is their anchor. I suspect my faith is not the same as the songwriter’s, but I do believe in anchors for our lives. I am confident the covid-19 pandemic has caused each of us to search for our own anchors to survive the fears created by the uncertainties, the upheavals in our lives.

Maybe The Anchor Holds resonates with me because I am on the threshold of another birthday – maybe it’s coronavirus driven. Regardless of its pull on me, I believe it’s my song of hope for everyone across the oceans or across the street. My hope is for you to find your own anchor and let it hold you during these difficult days.

“The anchor holds, though the ship is battered. The anchor holds, though the sails are torn. I have fallen on my knees as I faced the raging seas. The anchor holds in spite of the storm.”

Our grandaughter Ella today while Pretty babysat

(for sure one of the anchors of hope for Pretty and me)

Stay safe, stay sane and stay tuned.







About Sheila Morris

Sheila Morris is a personal historian, essayist with humorist tendencies, lesbian activist, truth seeker and speaker in the tradition of other female Texas storytellers including her paternal grandmother. In December, 2017, the University of South Carolina Press published her collection of first-person accounts of a few of the people primarily responsible for the development of LGBTQ organizations in South Carolina. Southern Perspectives on the Queer Movement: Committed to Home will resonate with everyone interested in LGBTQ history in the South during the tumultuous times from the AIDS pandemic to marriage equality. She has published five nonfiction books including two memoirs, an essay compilation and two collections of her favorite blogs from I'll Call It Like I See It. Her first book, Deep in the Heart: A Memoir of Love and Longing received a Golden Crown Literary Society Award in 2008. Her writings have been included in various anthologies - most recently the 2017 Saints and Sinners Literary Magazine. Her latest book, Four Ticket Ride, was released in January, 2019. She is a displaced Texan living in South Carolina with her wife Teresa Williams and their dogs Spike, Charly and Carl. She is also Naynay to her two granddaughters Ella and Molly James who light up her life for real. Born in rural Grimes County, Texas in 1946 her Texas roots still run wide and deep.
This entry was posted in Humor, Lesbian Literary, Life, Personal, politics, racism, Random, Reflections, sexism, Slice of Life, The Way Life Is and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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