Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Words to walk by....

I took a walk today. A nice long brisk walk because I was mad. I wish it was because I was consciencous and trying to be more consistent( see below), but I wasn't. I was simply mad at my children and needed to get out before I pulled one of my "mom is grounding us for life again" moments.

On my way out the door I at least remembered to snatch up my iPod and, after a little roaring, found the headphones one of the kids borrowed and hadn't put back. As I looked through my menu, I stopped at Emmylou Harris and selected her live album Spyboy (also the name of the band playing with her). I hadn't listened to this album in years and I'd forgotten how much I liked it. It defies classification, considering Emmylou has deep bluegrass roots and Spyboy is a funky, heavily rock-influenced country band (more rock than country, at least on this album). Yet somehow they pull off a bluegrass/rock fusion that works perfectly with Emmylou's unique, barely enunciated singing style.

As I walked today, I marveled at how many of the songs had biblical/ faith references. Not really surprising considering the bluegrass influence. They either sang about sin or salvation, it seems. But still, as I went along today, I found I was listening closely to the intertwining of pain and sorrow with hope and faith. And it moved me to tears at times (perhaps not that hard when I'm already so emotional).

It starts with the second verse of Songbird:

O lord, when your jeweler's eye
Peers into my soul
O lord, I am overcome with shame
Take me lord and purify
Heal me with a word
Lord, I beg a gift I dare not claim

The lyrics don't seem to go with the rest of the song, which is about a songbird who would love freedom, but is kept caged so the singer can hear the song.

Then there were the words of the old song, Green Pastures:

Going up home to live in green pastures
Where we shall live and die never more
Even The Lord will be in that number
When we shall reach that Heavenly Shore

I'll include all the lyrics for Prayer in Open D:

There's a valley of sorrow in my soul
Where every night I hear the thunder roll
Like the sound of a distant gun
Over all the damage I have done
And the shadows filling up this land
Are the ones I built with my own hand
There is no comfort from the cold
Of this valley of sorrow in my soul

There's a river of darkness in my blood
And through every vein I feel the flood
I can find no bridge for me to cross
No way to bring back what is lost
Into the night it soon will sweep
Down where all my grievances I keep
But it won't wash away the years
Or one single hard and bitter tear

And the rock of ages I have known
Is a weariness down in the bone
I use to ride it like a rolling stone
Now just carry it alone

There's a highway risin' from my dreams
Deep in the heart I know it gleams
For I have seen it stretching wide
Clear across to the other side
Beyond the river and the flood
And the valley where for so long I've stood
With the rock of ages in my bones
Someday I know it will lead me home

I was perhaps struck the most today by the words of Calling My Children Home. The words alone sound a little corny, but Emmylou's voice makes the song anything but. Here are the last two verses:

I gave my all for my dear children,
Their problems still with love I share,
I'd brave life's storm, defy the tempest
To bring them home from anywhere.

I lived my life my love I gave them,
to guide them through this world of strife,
I hope and pray we'll live together,
In that great glad here after life.

The album ends with All My Tears, a song about the certainly of going someplace better when we die, and The Maker. I hadn't remembered that words being so powerful. I'm still trying to work out their meaning.

Oh, oh deep water, black and cold like the night
I stand with arms wide open
I've run a twisted line
I'm a stranger in the eyes of the Maker
I could not see for the fog in my eyes
I could not feel for the fear in my life

From across the great divide, In the distance I saw a light
Of Jean Baptiste's he's walking to me with the Maker
My body my body is bent and broken by long and dangerous sleep
I can't work the fields of Abraham and turn my head away
I'm not a stranger in the hands of the Maker

Brother John, have you seen the homeless daughters
Standing there with broken wings
I have seen the flaming swords
There over east of eden
Burning in the eyes of the Maker

Oh, river rise from your sleep

I know this is long and rambling, and if you've made it this far, I thank you. It was a good time for me to be reminded of hardship and faith, sorrow and joy, mystery and hope. These were good words to walk by today.

No comments: