an untethered life

by Elouise

Annie J. Flint, Poet (1866-1932)

I like being in control. Or at least thinking I’m in control. Yet the older I get, the less control I have over my world, much less yours. I don’t relish feeling tethered by circumstances beyond my control.

Annie J. Flint, composer of the well-loved song below, lived a tethered life in her later years due to severe arthritis. Her ability to work or function as an independent adult was limited. She experienced what it means to ‘reach the end of our hoarded resources.’

Yet she still touches us with grace-filled lyrics such as these. Here’s one of her most-loved songs, unedited.

He giveth more grace as our burdens grow greater,
He sendeth more strength as our labors increase;
To added afflictions He addeth His mercy,
To multiplied trials he multiplies peace.

When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources
Our Father’s full giving is only begun.

His love has no limits, His grace has no measure,
His power no boundary known unto men;
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.

Words by Annie J. Flint (1866-1932)
Found at

Today, six months into this year, I’m tempted to despair. I struggle with discouragement about national and international issues. I don’t know what I can do, or who I’m to be in the midst of growing chaos gone crazy. The options seem tightly restrictive.

Happily, these lyrics don’t lull me into spiritual make-believe land, as though I could escape all this. Instead, they invite me to keep an open mind and heart, stay engaged, and loosen my hold on that tether I think is binding me.

After all, Flint’s lyrics are about receiving, not about giving.

I’ve lived most of my adult life as a giver. Though it’s exhausting, I confess some addiction to it. Especially now that I’m not able to feed the giving habit as regularly as I might like.

Perhaps I’ve reached the end of my giving tether, and need to cut it loose. Annie Flint would likely agree. In fact, when her options became severaly limited, she picked up her pen and began writing her life in poetry. Not primarily for us, but for herself.

How selfish? No, how wise. I can’t think of a better way to receive gifts than to unwrap, admire, and use them.

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 6 July 2017
Image found at
Response to WordPress Daily Prompt: Tether