When The Saints Go Marching In

By: Peggy Willms 


(2 min. read)

Don’t ask me why songs and conversations live rent-free in my head. But they do. 

Why am I walking around the house singing When The Saints Go Marching In? Was I thinking about my buddy Louie Armstrong? No. Do I think I am a saint? No. What came next was quite interesting, however.

I pictured this long line of humans clearly separated by positive and negative vibes. The image was like being on the 5th-grade playground waiting to be picked for a kickball game. I mean, you know if you know. The last standing are not always the all-stars. Was I picked near the front of the pack? Hell yeah. But that is regardless of where I am headed.

 Suddenly, as clear as day, in popped this pastel prismed mist, and I had a sense that was where I needed to stand. So I did. Rule follower here. The other side was simply put – dark gray and dreary. It was almost like they were being rained on.

Off to Wikipedia I went. Time to dissect the history of this song and why I was in this mystical image while singing it at the top of my lungs. Here we go.

Louie came out with When The Saints Go Marching In in 1938. Apparently, the origins are unclear, and the first cut had a nameless label. Analysis of the traditional lyrics represents the apocalyptic, taking much of its imagery from the Book of Revelation but excluding its more alarming depictions of the Last Judgment. The verses about the Sun and Moon are often interpreted as Solar and Lunar eclipses; the trumpet is the way in which the Last Judgment is announced. As the hymn expresses the wish to go to Heaven, picturing the saints going in (through the Pearly Gates).[1] Your foot might tap away at this hymn on Sunday at church, or it is sometimes played at funerals.

Mr. Armstrong took this hymn and went straight up jazz with it. And I was shocked by the number of people who have recorded or publicly sung their own twists, such as Judy Garland, Elvis, Bing Crosby, Etta James, and more.

So, what did my image have to do with this? Simple, you sillies.

I saw a very clear division of good and evil. And the world is full of both. Always has been. You know…we don’t appreciate the light without witnessing the dark. The vibrantly hued “good” people of this lovely third dimension were strolling through the Pearly Gates. They weren’t cocky, just matter-of-factly like they were headed to a backyard BBQ. The others, oh boy, they clearly understood they missed the boat.

My friends, might you choose to be pleasant today? Say hello to a stranger, give yourself grace, and grab that trumpet because the Saints are marching in, baby.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/When_the_Saints_Go_Marching_In

Peggy Willms
All Things Wellness, LLC

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