Hallelujah! A Beautiful Mind

By Janet Walgren
The scriptures tell us that children are an heritage from the Lord. They are one of the greatest gifts God bestows on us during our journey through mortality. I believe that they are second only to the gift of the atonement and life itself. My youngest daughter has proved to be a wonderful gift. She has a loving heart and a beautiful mind. 

Recently I went through a very stressful situation. I had no control over it and had no choice but to endure it. The day after it was over, I awoke with the song Hallelujah, sung by the English group, Blake, playing in my mind. I had never really paid attention to the words before, so I asked my daughter, Heather, what the words to the song were. The song is one of her recent favorites, and I know that when she plays a song over and over, she has a movie going on in her head with her own beautiful interpretation of it. When she told me her thoughts, I asked her to write them down for me. Below are the words to the song and her interpretation:

Hallelujah

Well, I’ve heard there was a secret chord,
That David played, and it pleased the Lord,
But you don’t really care for music, do you?
Well, it goes like this, the fourth, the fifth,
The minor fall, and the major lift,
The baffled king composing Hallelujah.

Chorus:

Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah.

Baby, I’ve been here before.
I’ve seen this room and I’ve walked this floor.
I used to live alone before I knew you.
But I’ve seen your flag on the marble arch,
Our love is not a victory march,
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah.

Chorus:

Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah.

There was a time you let me know,
What’s really going on below,
But now you never show it to me, do you?
But remember when I moved in you,
The holy dove was moving too.
And every breath we drew was Hallelujah.

Chorus:

Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Maybe there’s a God above,
But all I ever learned from love,
Was how to shoot somebody who outdrew you.
And it’s not a cry you can hear at night,
It’s not somebody who’s seen the light,
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah.

Chorus:

Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Heather’s interpretation:

To me, this song is a series of conversations with different people who gained broken hearts throughout their life’s journey. It starts with King David playing his harp to Saul, a man broken and troubled because of his own choices, yet the simple strains of David’s songs soothed his heart. Later in his life, David would also suffer a broken heart due to his decisions.

The next conversation is from the perspective of someone who, like David and Saul, carried the weight of their broken soul, but was lucky enough to have a friend there to help him find the way back. Unfortunately, the friend has lost their way, in turn and needs help. The voice of experience comes to the rescue of his friend, reminding him of his potential; telling him the path towards healing is not an easy jaunt through the park; it’s cold. It requires a broken heart and contrite spirit, but the healing that takes place is like a quiet Hallelujah; a song the sooths the heart.

A mother has closed herself off from God. Life has worn her out and she wonders why she bothers and is anything worth caring about. God reminds her that she used to let Him know what she thought and felt, but she has shut him out and has lost her direction and purpose. In response, God reminds her of the birth of her child. The life that was growing in her was a gift from God. Every breath she took was the breath of life for her child. Every breath was part of a gentle song. The memory brings back the song; a calm and gentle Hallelujah that restores her peace of mind.

A soldier returns from war. After seeing countless atrocities committed, the senseless, meaningless waste of it all causes him to forget the beauty life can contain. His life is dominated by the violence he witnessed, and he asks himself how a loving God could let it happen. But like the others in this story, the soldier is reminded that he important moments in life are not the things that break you, or make you cry at night. These moments are not made up of congregations shouting Hallelujah at a Sunday meeting; the most important moments in anyone’s life are the moments when you face God with a broken heart, asking him to heal it; The still moment when you go from cold, lonely, and dark and let Him heal you with his love; when you let go of the weight of sin, tragedy, depression, or whatever the ailment might be and realize that God can mend you soul.

With each healing comes a gentle Hallelujah that represents a minor fall followed by a major lift in life. The process of healing represented by Hallelujah pleases the Lord regardless of the harp player. But as more and more people experience the healing Hallelujah the quiet and broken strains of Hallelujah come to form a joyous chord, an army of individuals who found their way back, armed with the quiet assurance that the Lord knows and loves each of us.

I hope that as you read this you will remember the atonement and say your own private hallelujah.

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4 Responses to Hallelujah! A Beautiful Mind

  1. WOW!!! This is just a beautiful post. I never had understood this song – (due in major part that it is usually sung half-dazed and unintelligble other than the first verse and all those Hallelujahs) My images all come from Shrek, too, which doesn’t help much.
    I am still not too sure if the original writer was ever as insightful as Heather. However I will definitely take Heather’s interpretation any day! Amazing how a song can touch us and inspire us. What would we do without music? Hallelujah!

  2. Mormonsoprano – thanks! It is interesting how ones interpretation of a song, poem or story varies because of their experience, or character. What I love is how a beautiful interpretation changes the way a song is sung. Yes the notes are the same but the performance is so different. It’s like the difference between an electric keyboard playing a violin sound and a master violinist playing a Stradivarius.

    I think that is one of the reasons I love the Mormon Tabernacle Choir so much.

  3. My fellow on Facebook shared this link and I’m not dissapointed that I came here.

  4. Rob Dindinger says:

    I have always loved this song for many reasons. Thanks for adding to that. What a great post. I am glad I came across it. I often use the themes of this song to help teens in my practice who are going through tough times. This song has the ability to stir stir the heart of many who have struggled. It is a great catalyst for self exploration as many of us have similar themes running in our lives from time to time. Thanks for your thoughts.

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