Chattering Mind

Chattering Mind

Kumbaya R.I.P.

You know your kids are in a lefty summer day camp when the music teacher turns to the gathered parents at the final concert and says, “Now we’re going to sing a song that I learned in Cuba.”

After the Cuban number, the kids sang a truly gorgeous hymn by Jewel called “Hands.” It made us cry. And I daresay any right-wing Republican would be surprised to see sandal-wearing liberals standing in a barn in Western Massachusetts sniffling to a song that contained so many references to faith. We asked our son afterward if the teacher had questioned the kids directly about God, to see if anybody had a problem with the lyrics. And our nine-year-old son, awakening to a moment that suddenly made sense to him, said “Actually, she did ask, and nobody had a problem with that.”


Here are the lyrics. But you might get a better feel of the song by listening to its clip on

By Jewel

If I could tell the world just one thing,
It would be that we’re all OK.
and not to worry ’cause worry is wasteful,
and useless in times like these.

I won’t be made useless.
I won’t be idle with despair.
I will gather myself around my faith,
For light does the darkness most fear.

My hands are small, I know
But they’re not yours, they are my own
But they’re not yours, they are my own
and I am never broken!


We’ll fight, not out of spite,
For someone must stand up for what’s right.
‘Cause where there’s a man who has no voice,
There ours shall go singing.

In the end only kindness matters
I will get down on my knees, and I will pray
I will get down on my knees, and I will pray

We are God’s eyes,
God’s hands,
God’s mind.
We are God’s eyes,
God’s hands,
God’s heart.
We are God’s eyes,
God’s hands,
God’s eyes.
We are God’s hands.
We are God’s hands.

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posted August 2, 2006 at 4:35 pm

Ah, yes, “Hands.” An oldie but a goodie. The right wing would probably deride you for calling a Jewel song a “hymn,” and hanging out at a liberal camp crying over it. Personally, I wish I would have had a mother like you.>

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posted August 2, 2006 at 9:08 pm

I first heard Hands a few years ago, after funding was denied for a program I had worked hard to build. And it was this same song that got me going again. I also remember listening to it while sobbing in the shower after learning that my college roommate, a peace worker, was killed in a raid. More recently, Hands left me laughing, when the biggest, burliest man I know told me (whispered) that it is one of his favorite songs. Like the lovingkindness prayer, this “hymn” never fails to humble, console and inspire me. (what my granddad would have called “a good perspective-getter”) Thank you for featuring this, CM. The entire CD, Spirit, is beautiful, “This Little Bird” most of all.>

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