“Let someone love you, just the way you are, as flawed as you might be… To believe that you must hide all the parts of you that are broken out of fear that someone else is incapable of loving what is less than perfect, is to believe that sunlight is incapable of entering a broken window and illuminating a dark room.” – Marc Hack
“I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says “Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.”
― Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass
Today is cloudy and overcast and the recent snowfall has turned from a fluffy white to an icy gray. The glow of the new year has past and we have arrived at the slogging stage of winter. As the French so aptly say, “Il faut durer.”
As you will know if you read this blog consistently or know me at all, I am a sun-lover. As Jeremy once wrote: “She opens up like a bud in spring.”
So I’ve been thinking for some time about all of the songs that offer a little sunshine when the weather doesn’t. And about sharing them with you through a Spotify playlist.
I remember as a child feeling the sense of being deeply understood when I first heard the song Here Comes the Sun by The Beatles:
Little darlin’ it’s been a long dark lonely winter. Little darlin’ it seems like years since it’s been here. Here comes the sun…
Unfortunately Spotify doesn’t yet have the best song on my playlist–Sunshine by the Sweet Colleens–the one written especially for me. You can read the lyrics here and buy the track on itunes and Amazon.
Jeremy has weathered a lot of winters and cloudy days with me over the years. So he knows how to write a song that goes right to my heart. The great news is that I am no longer flattened by dark days and long cold seasons. Nonetheless, I will always love me some big bright yellow orb in the sky.
The Richie Havens tune is especially for my daddy-o and very first valentine, Tony Hedrick. I think about my dad a lot anyway, but Valentine’s Day always brings special memories to mind, memories of some of his absolute most shining moments while parenting me through the teen years.
So here’s my gift du jour. I hope that you enjoy my sunny song choices.
Don’t forget to comment on my blogiversary giveaway; deadline to be entered to win is Thursday, January 31st.
And now, back to your regularly scheduled programming. Isn’t this quote a beauty? It makes me sigh with joy, for me and for all of you.
God be in my thoughts, and in my heart. In my left hand and in my right hand. Atone me. At-one me with you and your love. Help me to pray for those I fear as well as those I love, knowing that you can take my most ungracious prayers and give them grace. Whenever we pray, we are tapping the power of creation, and that’s a mighty power. There are a lot of battle lines to cross in order for us to pray with each other, and with the rest of the world, with those who do not agree with us, with those who worship God in ways we do not understand. We do have to try to turn to love, to know that the Lord who created all, also loves all that which was made. – Madeleine L’Engle
Dear you and you and you and you and you…and yes, you:
For some time I’ve been trying to find a way to communicate what I see and feel and think of you. I’m still not confident that I can articulate something so powerful yet ethereal this way. But I’m going to chance putting an explanation into words, simply because I’d like to try to help you understand the view through my eyes.
A poem from the 1300s showed me the way toward what I want to express. And God generously directed me toward the poem. So, here goes:
I can see you in your fullness–the you that is expressed in the beauty I can see now, illuminated and amplified by the you that you long to become. And while I might not have a detailed picture of what that “becoming you” will look like, I know that she will be incredibly gifted. And free. And needed by the world.
So…what likely seems at times to be an unnatural interest in you and your life and your well-being, is actually my soul’s longing for you to attain every one of your heart’s desires.
I see you standing in a new place, bathed in light, with doors and windows flung open to the world. Your arms are spread wide and welcoming, because you are unafraid. I see you enveloped in joy and filled with a sense of purpose. I see you ready to use your unique, God-given gifts to create and transform. For this is what has always been intended for you and you are fully ready to embrace it.
I am aware that my longings for you to have what I hear your soul singing for may be misunderstood. And so at times I struggle to contain my enthusiasm about your life. After all, it is your life and I do know that.
But it’s simply no use. I see what I see, and I feel what I feel, and I know what I know, and I cannot hold it in. So I cannot stop myself from celebrating you: You in your “now” beauty–which is already breathtaking, by the way–and you down the road, standing in your “even more glorious” beauty.
If I am needed and called upon, I want to do all that I can to help you remove stones from your path and clear brush that is in your way. I am so excited to watch your orchard grow! And If I am not needed or called upon, I will still be on the sidelines, watching with amazement as you get taller and stronger and more stunning each day. And I will rejoice for you. Because it will be as it should be.
A poem by Hafiz paints the picture more clearly than I can hope to.
So you can plant more wheat I would like to remove some rocks from your
field so that you can plant more wheat. And those hills I see that are part of you, I
have some trees in mind for them and flowering grasses, so that you won’t erode
when the elements pour. Are we not lovers? Cannot I speak to you like this? Do I need to ask your permission to hitch up
my ox and sing to him as I improve your vast terrain? The title to your heart came to my office. In
looking at it a great interest in your soul
developed. The care of your soul became mine. So I would like to remove some stones from
your meadows; then an orchard you could grow, and the world, and the world then, will come
to taste your riches. – Hafiz
West Wind #2 by Mary Oliver
You are young. So you know everything. You leap into the boat and begin rowing. But listen to me. Without fanfare, without embarrassment, without any doubt, I talk directly to your soul. Listen to me.
Lift the oars from the water, let your arms rest, and your heart, and heart’s little intelligence, and listen to me. There is life without love. It is not worth a bent penny, or a scuffed shoe. It is not worth the body of a dead dog nine days unburied. When you hear, a mile away and still out of sight, the churn of the water as it begins to swirl and roil, fretting around the sharp rocks – when you hear that unmistakable pounding – when you feel the mist on your mouth and sense ahead the embattlement, the long falls plunging and steaming – then row, row for your life toward it.
Housden shares an interpretation of each poem he profiles, and here’s an excerpt of what he says about West Wind #2:
“Listen to me, Oliver calls out three times. It is always three times that the cock crows. She calls, not to the youth in us, not to the impulsive heart that knows and sees the world with a naive and definite clarity; she speaks to our soul. The soul knows in a different way. It gathers honey in the dark from near and far. The soul is always connected to a larger life. It is joined by invisible threads to the soul of all other things, and in this way, the world whispers to it without ceasing. That is why it is natural for the soul to pause, to listen, to wonder. Only the soul in us has the time to listen deeply.
Mary Oliver is speaking directly to that part of you and me that knows, however faintly, that when we rush into life, when we leap into action without any connection to the deeper currents that move through us always, we are acting without love. Our oars thrash at the water, and we break the gossamer web of life this way. There is indeed a life without love, she says. It is quite possible to live a life in which your soul plays no part. You can jump up and down with every passing impulse, and never hear the whispering call that is there all along. On the other hand, you can live a busy, efficient existence full of duties and responsibilities and never even know there is a deeper life. You can be successful, a bright star, even. But your nights may carry other voices on the wings of dreams. Whispers of great empty spaces, lonely and afraid.”