Thomas R. Sweatmon was born in 1876, possibly in Georgia. The truth is, there is very little information we know about him. He died in 1969 and is buried in Marionetta, Georgia. We know the year of his birth and the of his death, but not a lot is known about what happened in between. The little we do know is that he was an exceptional poet. It is told that he taught in singing-schools and loved to write songs. One of his better know is the beloved hymn, “Walking Alone At Eve.”
If you will notice the words are written by Sweatmon, but the music by Will W. Slater in 1917. The story has been passed down from those of Mr. Slater that Thomas and Will were friends, attending a music school in eastern Oklahoma. One day the young men went to visit a lady in the congregation who had recently become a widow. They asked her how she was doing and her response was, “I’m walking alone in the evening shades of life.” It is said to have been the inspiration for the words that Thomas R. Sweatmon would write.
The song has three verses, notice some highlights from each:
Verse 1 – WALKING alone at eve – just spending time looking to the skies and thinking of God, as the darkness comes on, seeing the stars, and thinking of God’s power and might. Can’t help but think of Psalm 19:1-3, right? “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech and night unto night reveals knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their line (sound) has gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.
Verse 2 – SITTING alone at eve – now from walking to sitting. Perhaps the progression of the day or about life in general. But now sitting, dreaming the hours away, thinking about God and His mercy, thinking about His word. Consider the comfort of the Scriptures; the love and truth found in these pages. These pages that tell us of Jesus and the hope of life beyond this one. We rejoice in hope (Romans 5:1-2).
Verse 3 – CLOSING my eyes at eve – from walking to sitting to closing eyes. He speaks of dreaming of heaven’s grace, longing to see the Lord, trusting Him as my all, pleading with Him to guide me onto the spirit’s home. At the close of day, at the close of life – what is on your mind?
The chorus seeks to provide a great summary of what we must really be seeking as we live our lives day to day.
Chorus – O for a home with God, a place to rest, sure and a safe abode with Jesus and the blest – as one redeemed – a place to be pure and whole and live with God! Aren’t you thankful for the words of Thomas R. Sweatmon – one not many seem to know about, but one who helps us to think about great and lofty things. Are you prepared for that home? (1 John 3:1-3).
– Adam Orr