• lenten journal: sing to the night

    by  • April 14, 2019 • grief, hope, incarnation, lenten journal, music • 1 Comment

    When I sat down tonight to write, what came to mind are songs that capture the emotions of the week ahead, which are not easy feelings. Part of the challenge every year for me is not to rush to Easter but to take the loss and grief seriously. Here, then, is my soundtrack, which is by no means exhaustive.

    To set the tone, I’ll begin with Guy Clark’s “The Dark.”

    in the dark you can sometimes
    you can hear your own heart beat
    or the heart of the one next to you
    the house settles down
    after holding itself up all day
    shoulder slumps, gives a big sigh
    you hear no one’s foot fall in the hall
    that drip in the kitchen sink marking time
    june bug on the window screen
    can’t get in but he keeps on trying
    one way or another we’re all in the dark

    James Taylor’s “Lonesome Road” helps me picture how alone Jesus must have felt in the middle of everything coming down.

    carry on—never mind feeling sorry for yourself
    it doesn’t save you from your troubled mind
    walk down that lonesome road all by yourself
    don’t turn your head back over your shoulder
    and only stop to rest yourself
    when the silver moon is shining high above the trees

    American Kid is the album Patty Griffin wrote after her father died. “Wild Old Dog” is an amazing expression of grief using a dog abandoned on the side of the interstate as a metaphor for God.

    God is a wild old dog
    someone left out on the highway
    I seen him running by me
    he don’t belong to no one now

    Randy Newman’s song “I’ll Never Get Over Losing You” is another statement of grief. The video below also carries the story behind the song.

    when you’re young and there’s time to forget the past
    you don’t think that there’s time but you will
    and I know that I don’t have time enough
    and I’ll never get over losing you

    I’ve been cold I’ve been hungry but not for a while
    guess most of my dreams have come true
    with it all here around me no peace do I find
    ’cause I’ll never get over losing you
    no, I’ll never get over losing you

    I am going to close the set with Andrew Peterson’s “After the Last Tear Falls” because even in our bleakest times, love is still the last word.

    after the last disgrace, after the last lie to save some face
    after the last brutal jab from a poison tongue
    after the last dirty politician, after the last meal down at the mission
    after the last lonely night in prison
    there is love, love, love, love
    there is love, love, love, love
    there is love

    and in the end, the end is oceans and oceans of love and love again
    we’ll see how the tears that have fallen
    were caught in the palms of the giver of love and the lover of all
    and we’ll look back on these tears as old tales

    Peace,
    Milton

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    One Response to lenten journal: sing to the night

    1. Susan
      April 16, 2019 at 10:39 pm

      Wow. I have never heard a single one of these songs before tonight. Each so powerful. Thanks, Milton.

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