Chasing Light: The Meaning Behind the Music

Play Button

Chasing Light


One of my favorite flowers is the sunflower.  It is the tallest of the flowers, and often the biggest.

But the thing that fascinates me most about the sunflower is that however big or tall as it is, it always follows the sun.  It spends all its daylight hours riveted on the sun.  It seeks no glory for its size and hight.  It merely wants to ensure that it is high enough to be able to follow the sun without interruption.

How like the sunflower we should be – constantly looking to our Savior, Jesus Christ.  Why do we strive to live righteously?  Is it to glorify ourselves, or get the attention of the world?  No, it is to allow our spirits to be able to follow him without interruption.

There is another kind of sunflower.  They are the wild ones – the ones that have little interest in hight, size, or following the sun.  They are small, branch in all directions, and are considered weeds to most people.  They spread like wildfire, but they are not nearly as useful, large, and beautiful as the unblemished sunflower that chases the light.

We are to live in the world – that is not a command, but a fact.  But we are not to be of the world.  That is a command.  That does not mean we ignore those around us, but it does mean that our focus should be on the Savior.  Looking to Him ought to be our prime directive – the thing that we do no matter our situation or station in life.

Sometimes it will not be easy to know what the Savior would have us do in a particular situation.  We must seek His light.  We must reach for it.  If we cannot see Him from where we are, then we must grow spiritually taller and larger until we can see Him.  Then we must follow Him – forever.

See more entries that include the Meaning behind the Music

See more entries about The Ancestor CD

To hear the music without my voice, scroll to playlist on the sidebar called, “The Ancestor CD,” and click on Chasing Light

Bookmark and Share

The Ancestor: The Meaning Behind the Music

Play Button

The Ancestor

ancestor(art by Maria Hathaway)

I served my mission in South Africa.  I loved learning about the people, the history, and the culture.  I was also fascinated by their religious views.  The native African religion – the one that was present before Christian missionaries ever came to South Africa, and which is still quite popular, has a very strong focus on one’s own ancestors.

Africans hold a great esteem for their ancestors.  Those practicing the native traditions would gather together annually with family to sacrifice a cow or sheep to their ancestors, and petition them for help, rain, protection, or whatever they felt they needed.  The major part of their religion focused on their ancestors.

When Christians of other faiths came and proselyted Africans, they told the people that their ancestors did not exist, that they had died, and were gone forever.  I don’t know if those Christians didn’t believe in an afterlife, or if they just said it to reject African tradition.  Either way, they taught the people that their ancestors no longer existed.

What a joy it was to be able to tell these people that their ancestors most certainly did exist, and that though we did not need to call on them for help, they were in need of our help.   They needed the help of their living descendants to perform the essential ordinances of the gospel in their behalf.  Because of their strong feelings towards their ancestors, most Africans received this news with great joy.

Setswana is the native language of Botswana, and while serving in that area, I made an interesting discovery about the Setswana word for God.  I had known throughout my mission that the word for God was Modimo.  Sometimes we would tell people we were barumua ba Modimo (messengers of God).

In Setswana, the word Motswana meant a Tswana person, or a person of the Tswana tribe.  To say Botswana would be the plural form of the same word – “Tswana people” or “people of the Tswana tribe.”  The prefix “mo” was singular form, and the word “bo” or  “ba”  was plural.

This fact became very interesting to me when I learned that the word for ancestors is badimo.  If I was understanding correctly, the word for God, Modimo, and the word of ancestors, badimo, were simply different prefixes for the same word – ancestor.  What insight that holds!

I suspect that the word Modimo was adopted by Africans because grasping the concept of worshiping someone besides an ancestor may have been difficult to understand.  But over time, this connection was likely forgotten as Christianity became the dominant religion in South Africa.

I think the connection is significant.  It would be hard to grasp the idea of honoring a great and powerful being who has no real relation to us.  If we were merely a clay or wood project God is working on, why should we want to emulate Him?  A statue can never take on the real characteristics of its model.

But if we are God’s children, and I testify that we are, then we can become like our Heavenly Father, if we will but follow the steps that He teaches.

Joseph Smith taught that “If men do not comprehend the character of God, they do not comprehend themselves” (History of the Church, V. 3, pg. 303).  I believe that until we know and seek to fulfill our potential to become like Him, we cannot become all that He wants us to be.  We are children of God, and as children, we are also heirs of all that He has and is, if we will live according to His word and commandments.

President Boyd K. Packer has said:

“You are a child of God. He is the father of your spirit. Spiritually you are of noble birth, the offspring of the King of Heaven. Fix that truth in your mind and hold to it. However many generations in your mortal ancestry, no matter what race or people you represent, the pedigree of your spirit can be written on a single line. You are a child of God!”
Boyd K. Packer, “Your Test of Courage,” New Era, Mar 1990, 4

So I think the word Modimo is a very appropriate name for our Father in Heaven.  Truly, to each and every one of us, He is The Ancestor.

See more entries that include the Meaning behind the Music

See more entries about The Ancestor CD

To hear the music without my voice, scroll  to playlist on the sidebar called, “The Ancestor CD,” and click on The Ancestor

Bookmark and Share

25 Second Teaser from the New CD

Play Button

25 Second Sample

Here’s another 25 second teaser from my newest CD to be released in the next few weeks.  The name of the CD is The Ancestor, and this is a sample from the song that bears that name.  Enjoy!

By the way, the Deseret News has a section known as Mormon Times which wrote an article about my music this week.  Check it out at the Mormon Times Website.

Also, thanks to L.T. Elliot for her kind words in a blog post about my music.  Thanks, L.T.!

See More posts with music from The Ancestor CD

Come On Everyone! Simple, Easy to Win Giveaway!


What Should I Call this Piece?

talltabOkay, you guys, time is running out, and this silly giveaway is still in force – for maybe a week or two.  Only a few people have tried, and even those few haven’t made more than a couple suggestions each!  You can suggest as many names as you want, so your chance of winning increases with each suggestion.  Fifty suggestions is just fine!  And you get free stuff if one of your suggestions is chosen!

Here’s the rules again:

Tab 2I wrote this piano piece for my second CD, which is coming out this summer, but I haven’t been able to come up with a name for it yet.

Tab 2I need your help! I need a good name for it.

Tab 2You can suggest as many names as you want, so any time you come up with one, simply write it in the comments.  Get family and friends to participate, because I want lots of names to choose from.  If it helps inspire any ideas, the CD itself is called The Ancestor, about roots or origins – something along those lines.  You certainly don’t have to base your title on that theme, because there are plenty of other pieces following that theme, but you can if you want to.

Tab 2So here’s how the giveaway will work. as soon as I see a name I really like, the contest will end, and I will announce the winner – so the more you participate, the better chance you have of winning.  The winner gets a choice of either a free copy of my Dayspring CD, or a free copy of the new CD (You can choose between CD or MP3s) once it’s ready (exact date unknown).  Plus I’ll email you a free copy of this MP3, so you can show off the awesome tune you named 😀

Tab 2The chosen name will be the permanent title for the piece.

Tab 2Thanks for your help, you guys!  You’re AWESOME!

My First Music Video! Yay!

I’ve finally completed my first music video.  I guess it’s a little more like a music slideshow, but the piano piece is from the CD I’m planning on releasing at the end of July (If all goes well – and so far so good!) and it’s called, The Fourth Day, referring to the fourth day of creation.  That also means that this is the first time the piece has been published anywhere.  What do you think?

Copyright ©2009 Chas Hathaway, Willowrise LLC

And in case that version doesn’t work (some people’s computers don’t play it right), here’s a link to it on Youtube:

If that doesn’t work, you can also watch it at

By the way, the giveaway where you help me come up with the name of my piano piece is still active!  Just comment with a name suggestion for the piece.  If one of the names you suggest is the one I decide on, then you get a free copy of my Dayspring CD.  It really is as simple as that, so just comment on that post with as many name suggestions as you want.  You can’t lose!