April 30, 2018
Songs Of Prayer, Stories Of Faith

MIMI’S SONG

You wake up each morning, you open your eyes,
you fall out of bed, you see the beautiful sky.
You see the sun a-shin’in, the bluebird, seem him fly;
This is from heaven, God’s wonderful surprise.

Refrain:
Mimi, look to the sun.  Look to the rain fallin’ down.
Look to the sky and all around you too.
God gave life to you; and I’ll never stop thanking God for you.

Look to your family, and look to your friends;
Look up to God when all happiness ends.
He is with you today, and tomorrow he will be too.
Now you will know that he really does love you.  Refrain

Your very happy smile, and your beautiful eyes –
The love that you show us reaches up to the sky.
You’re very special to me, and to all of us here;
You’re special to God who is very real and near.  Refrain

Copyright © 1979, 2017 GIA Publications, Inc

This was the very first actual song that I ever wrote. I mean, when I was very young I would sit at the piano or with the guitar and make up little tunes here and there from time to time, but this was the first time an actual complete song was conceived and finished.

I was a freshman in high school (this was 1972), and around this time I had had already become very close to a family who lived behind our house and across the field from our backyard. Jo Infante, who had lost her husband in a horrific car accident just a few years before, had three children—Lisa, Tony, and Maria. After her husband died, Jo began to become more involved at our parish in Bridgeport, and that is how I got to know her; I played guitar in the parish “folk” group, and she was one of the singers.

Jo was, and still is, one of the most amazing and courageous women I have ever met, and while she was never formally trained in music, when she sang at church, she radiated a joy that was very difficult for me to understand, knowing the profundity of the loss that she carried in her life. Losing her husband at an early age, raising three children all on her own, and so much more—it was (and still continues to be for me) quite astonishing.

Around this time, I used to hop over the fence in my backyard with my guitar, and I would hang out at the house with her, her kids, and others who would come over, and we would sing and sing. While I was still very young, Jo was a good listener, always very affirming and attentive to me, and this continued throughout my high school years and beyond. I also really enjoyed being with her children, and I guess I was a sort of big brother to them during this time when they were still in many ways grieving the loss of their father and trying to navigate their way through these growing up years.

Maria—whom we all called “Mimi”—was about to make her First Communion. Now, these were the days when people would often, for special occasions, have a “home mass,” and that was to be the case for Mimi.

There would be family and a few close friends, and Jo and Mimi asked me if I would come, play the guitar and lead the singing for the mass. I said of course, and then almost immediately I asked, “could I write a song for the occasion?” I am not sure where this came from, because I really had never composed a song before. They enthusiastically said, “my goodness, yes!” When I think about it now, I wonder what Jo was really thinking at the time when she gave her assent. I knew she believed I was talented, or she would not have asked me to play or sing for this special day. But I am not sure she had confidence as to whether or not I would follow through on writing the song, or whether or not it would be any good.

Well, by the night before the mass, when I was sitting on my bed with my guitar and nothing at all coming to me, as one could imagine, I was becoming quite anxious. I looked at my wall, which had a poster (I do not remember who gave it to me) that said, “I never stop thanking God for you.” While it probably said at the bottom or on the back that this was a quote from Ephesians 1: 16, I did not realize at that time that this was from the Bible. That quote resonated with how I felt about the Infante family and Mimi in particular at that moment, and so that line became the springboard for my finishing the song, although it took into the very early hours of the morning.

The mass for Mimi was very beautiful for her and for all of us, and the song was a very special moment. It did not spark in me any kind of vocational dream that I would someday become a composer; I was just relieved and happy that I finished the song, and got through it!

When I finally made my first liturgical music recording, entitled “I Am Yours Today” several years later in 1979, I recorded it finally and included it on that recording.  Sadly, I got really sick two days before the recording session – so when you listen to the piece (on the YouTube video below), you will notice that I was getting over a bad cold.  But I still enjoy this recorded version.  In future editions of the recording, “Mimi’s Song” was absent, but I have brought it back on my new recording, “I Will Bring You Home.” 

Mimi married years ago and moved to Rome, where she too has raised children of her own. She and her kids still live there. I miss her. For some reason, she often calls me “Chuck.” I miss that. I always seem to miss her when she comes home to Michigan to visit. But I know and believe that she still “looks to the sun.” And I hope that she and the entire Infante family know that “I’ll never stop thanking God for you.” (11.25.17)

 

Song Video: Mimi’s Song / Composed and sung by David Haas

This essay is an excerpt from I Will Bring You Home: Songs of Prayer, Stories of Faith by David Haas (G-9617).  Copyright © 2018 GIA Publications, Inc. / www.giamusic.com.  Printed with permission.  All rights reserved.

 

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