Saturday, June 2, 2018
In the Morning of Joy -- Ruth Adalyn Evilsizer
Could she have known what lay ahead by just a few short years, as she sat with her pen to record a few verses about the afterlife? Did she envision a morning, perhaps like this one in Yosemite? (see picture) Ruth Adalyn (Hearn) Evilsizer was still relatively young as the turn of the century approached, and since she was eventually credited with writing nearly one hundred hymn texts, her demise just a few years after thinking about what she would see “In the Morning of Joy” could naturally be considered premature. Was it unfair, too? That would be an interesting question to ask Ruth, given that she indicated, through the title of her poem, that death’s reality would usher in a transition that would be anything but sad and untimely. Ruth had evidently been unhappy with at least one facet of her life, so could that have influenced her mindset as she sat down to write in 1895? When life’s a struggle, the remedy may be casting one’s vision to another plane. Mind transformation…is that what I need most of all?
Not much is known of Ruth (perhaps more commonly known as Adalyn) Evilsizer, though some of her family history does provide some clues about her. She was in her early 30s when she crafted the words of ‘In the Morning…’, and had been married for just over a decade, perhaps unhappily. She and her husband Louis reportedly divorced just two years after Adalyn’s ode to the afterlife was penned, so we could presume that marital bliss was not necessarily a reality for her. Adalyn died just two years further on, in Georgia, at the age of 36. Had she also been ill, perhaps chronically, precipitating a difficult life and an early departure? Where does ‘In the Morning…’ fit in among the 94 song-poems that are attributed to her – early, middle, or latter? Since she expired in 1899, one might assume that what she crafted four years earlier was among her latter creations. Could some of its words have been a window onto her own family experiences over a brief 36 years? Her own mother had died (in 1863) when Adalyn was less than a year old, and one of Adalyn’s two children had died in infancy some 22 years later. Were these people some of the ones she longed to meet again, and at least part of the reason for her song’s third verse (‘When our loved ones we meet…’). One wonders whether the song took on additional meaning for her in the early months of 1899; Adalyn’s father died just five months before Adalyn in that year. Indeed, the concluding words of verse 3 (…With the past all forgotten with its sorrows and tears.’) suggest she had much from earthly life she wanted to put behind herself.
Are not Adalyn’s sentiments common among all us earth dwellers? Few things gnaw at me more than those issues surrounding people I know, especially family members. Though it’s not always immediately obvious, I have hangups when things aren’t the way I want them to be. I’m at odds with someone. Or, someone is sick, or maybe absent. I feel lonely, disgruntled. Could these have been Adalyn’s circumstances? Nevertheless, she must have had some folks of like faith, who helped shape her emotionally and encouraged her song-writing. No one wants to wallow in depression. Instead, friends, especially those with whom I can imagine the great future ‘gettin-up-mornin’, can help spur that confident hope. These, too, must have been part of Adalyn’s experience. Who do you expect to see in that Morning?
All the verses to the song are here: http://www.hymntime.com/tch/htm/i/m/o/imornjoy.htm
Scant biography of the author is here: https://hymnary.org/person/Evilsizer_Adalyn
Also, see here: http://www.hymntime.com/tch/bio/e/v/i/evilsizer_ra.htm
The author’s ancestral record is here: https://www.ancestry.com/genealogy/records/ruth-adeline-hearn_41012439