When my son Micah was only 4 years old, my wife Sheila composed a song. She never knew where it came from. It was not like her other music. She always said the words came to her like dictation. The words were these:
CORIN THE PIPER
by Sheila King
Corin the Piper lives here no more
He and his mother left when he was four
Some day there'll be music, same as before
But it won't be easy for Corin
lives here no more
1. I sit here at the window, watchin' the children play
They don't know I'm even here, but they come here every day.
Sometimes the tears start fallin', and I wonder what they're for
Until I remember, Corin lives here no more
2. He filled my days with laughter, sunshine and song,
And Corin, the drummer, was seldom ever wrong.
Sometimes I hear him singing, and my heart starts to soar.
And then I remember, Corin lives here no more.
The song was written before we ever became interested in Celtic Music. We tried to puzzle out the meaning of the song for years and where it came from, but we never could. Sheila, like most mothers, has a mental image of her children and they are always a certain age. Meg is 3, Micah is 4 and Matt is 6 in her mind's eye. We never connected the song to Micah until after his death in January 2006. One day, about two months after Micah died, she was sitting in the rocking chair that she bought when he was born. She was crying. From where she sat by the window in our living room she was looking out across the road toward the little park by the lake. Without thinking, she began humming the first verse of that song and suddenly realized that the song described what she was experiencing at that very moment.
God knew! He looked 24 years into the future and saw her sitting there by the window, watching kids play in the park across the street and he gave her a song to let her know that all of this was in his hands. He knew and he reached out across two decades and said, "I understand but don't be afraid. He is in my hands now.". She told me about her experience when I got home from work that day and recognized it immediately as something from God.
We were still puzzled about the name in the song. So, I looked it up on the Internet and there is actually a Scottish clan called Corin. My son took after my wife's McKay ancestors, tall and blonde and big. He wore a kilt to have his graduation picture taken in it, so it made sense. When Sheila wrote the song, she'd never heard the name before. I once asked her where she got the name. She said it just came with the song.
When I looked up the web page, I was struck by the Corin Clan motto:
This is the way to heaven!
I have to believe God was telling me that for my son, this was the time God had chosen to take him home so that he would win his way through to heaven. We are in God's hands after all. I worry about the line that says "He and his mother - left when he was four". I worry that the song may be for me and that I may lose Sheila too. It frightens me, but whatever happens, I do know God will make it all come out okay. The next day after she told me about the song, as I was driving home, God gave me one more verse for the song.
In the evenings I would watch him, walk up the path alone.
His head bowed and weary from a day gone on too long.
And I know that he is sleeping; till I see him once more
But I can't forget that Corin, lives here no more.
It felt like closure and I needed that.
Here's Sheila singing the song.
The video is dark because I had to sneak this video without Sheila knowing I was recording. Her performance was perfect as always. I wish she hadn't made me sing along. I imagine this was the last time she will ever sing this song. It was recorded January, 2004 - two years before Micah died.
Finally, when our first son was born, Sheila had a long tough labor. She kept passing out between contractions. Then, suddenly, she sat straight up and said, "Isaiah 54: 1 and 13." Then she passed out again. I looked at the two ladies that were sitting with her along with me.
"Did you hear what I heard?" one asked.
"If you heard 'Isaiah 54: 1 and 13' I did?"
We all agreed that's what we heard, so I looked it up. I had my Bible beside the bed. The translation read, "Sing aloud oh barren woman, shout for joy, you who have never been in labor."
At that point everbody started laughing. I went on. "For the children of the barren one shall be more than of she who is beloved by her husband." That one I didn't get and for years it bothered us, but verse 13 was pretty clear. "Your sons shall be taught by the Lord and great shall be your son's prosperity and in triumph shall you be restored." It's the only translation where it reads just like that, but most translations are pretty close. Some say sons, some say children. We understood that and as our rambunctious, head-strong boys grew up, we often claimed that promise for God to be their teacher.
When Micah died without children, we were reminded of the "children of the barren" part of God's promise to Sheila. When we saw all the children who came to his service and heard story after story about Micah's kindness to "his kids", we began to realize what this promise had meant. Though Micah never had kids of his own, he left behind more children than we will ever know. Three years later, we still meet kids who talk about him and how much he meant to them. When he died three large local elementary schools had to bring in grief counselors to help the children.
I don't know what lies along the path ahead of us, but I have confidence that God will light the way. Till then, I guess we'll just walk it as best we can.
Just one man's epiphany....