Behind every song there is a story to tell. As Paul Harvey would say, “Here’s the rest of the story”.
Mrs. Ina Duley Ogdon, who would have been satisfied to have had an audience of thousands on the Chautauqua circuits, actually reached many millions more because the denial of her great ambition opened the door into a far wider field. Her well planned and prepared career, to be one of the first women on this famed speaker’s tour was abandoned because of tragedy and desperate necessity. Her cherished ambition was defeated by a stroke that felled her father. Mrs. Ogdon, who had hoped to reach the multitudes of the famous Chautauqua circuits of the northern states, had to compromise with an audience of one in the seclusion of her own home.
The disappointment and difficulty of reconciling herself to the loss of a great ambition only added a heavy burden to the duties of caring for her invalid father. The transition from bitter resentment to quiet acceptance came slow but sure. It was around this silent wheelchair that gave birth to a new song of hope and cheer. In the quietness of that house she put to words the thoughts of her heart.
“Do not wait until some deed of greatness you may do, do not wait to spread your light afar. To the many duties ever near you now be true, BRIGHTEN THE CORNER WHERE YOU ARE.”
In the second verse, she speaks of her father; “Just above are clouded skies that you may help to clear, let not narrow self your way debar. Though into one heart alone may fall your song of cheer, BRIGHTEN THE CORNER WHERE YOU ARE.”
In deep humility she wrote the final verse; “Here for all your talent surely you may find a need, here reflect the bright and morning star. Even from your humble hand, the bread of life may feed, BRIGHTEN THE CORNER WHERE YOU ARE.”
This wonderful homespun lilting lyric, with its good advice, shows again how God works in mysterious ways, his wonders to perform. Years have passed and more than 25 million reproductions of “Brighten The Corner” have been made in hymn books, radio transcriptions, phonograph recordings and moving pictures, all doing a thing that could not have been accomplish in any other way.
The night before his death, Jesus took a towel and girded himself. After washing the disciples feet he said, “I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done unto you . . . If ye know these things happy are you if ye do them” (John 13:1-17). Paul wrote, “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).