Saturday, December 2, 2006

"Rise up...with a sudden sense of wonder..."

Often the most surprising (and frequent) source for life-transforming inspiration and comfort comes to me through song lyrics.  Anyone who knows me knows that this has always been a theme in my life.  I can chronicle my entire 52 years in songs.  Its almost as if I am taking this spiritual journey in a '69 Jeep with a radio playing all the time.   I think this may be why hymns, traditional spirituals, Hebrew and African worship or contemporary Christian gospel, praise -- and yes, pop/folk--music resonates with my deepest longings for a more visceral sense of my relationship to God.   I do find my day-to-day grounding from Bible-based research and study, but there are those moments when something in me shifts to an inner landscape where the heart lies open and naked ready to be clothed anew.

Sometimes this shift occurs when inspiring and evocative songs create a catalytic charge that triggers an avalanche-like dislodging of all that is not inherently good and pure.  This crumbling away makes silent space for other songs of inspiration that allow a reforestation of this inner landscape with tender seedlings of the rich soil of humility and grace.  The following song by singer/songwriter David Wilcox is just one of those songs.  "Rise" (lyrics below) came into my life on the heels of a period when I was stripped of all pretense and self-preservation.

Finding the courage to take divinely inspired steps into uncharted territory had left me drowning in a deep pool of sorrow for all that had been hoped for, but would never be.   The cleared path that followed my own life-transforming avalanche now looked like empty loneliness and confusion.  Depression which had only been a far-off land visited by others now became my prison.  Escape seemed to come only with dreaming, and sleep was the vehicle for getting to this place of reprieve.   I lived in limbo between the waking reality of my sadness and the dreamy invitation to escape from that sadness, through sleep. 

Depression, and the constant invitation by pharmaceutical companies to join the club of millions who suffer from countless symptoms that only their drug can relieve, invites its victim to let go and sink deeper into the weight of its pull like a tired swimmer in an endless whirlpool of overwhelming emotions.

Wilcox's "Rise" was a life preserver thrown to me when I was most exhausted from the downward spiral I was in.  I would listen to this song in the car as I carried out the details of my day. Details which required that I get dressed and leave the hypnotic cocoon of sleep and dreaming for school hallways, coffeehouses, and church-baed responsibilities.  One morning after the children had left for school I climbed back into bed begging God for just one more hour of dreaming.  But without even asking for it (in fact I was actually begging for its opposite), the heaviness in my head, eyes, and limbs lifted like the fog off a New England lake early on a summer morning, and I could feel the sun on the side of my face.

My familiarity with the lyrics to "Rise" swept over my heart like the wings of angels...."
The sun itself is in the room beside you...With a message of how good your life can be..." In that moment I would remember that the sun which came through the window and sat in the room beside me was a reminder of how good my life could be.  And because "what blesses one, blesses all" I could know that everyone who shared that room with me was touched by the light, warmed by its touch, and illumined by its wisdom.  The words of comfort and encouragement I found in this song were divine messages on the wings of angels for me.   Over and over these angel messages swept their wings over my heart until all the dust and cobwebs of depression were gone.  And I rose....

Wilcox, in the liner notes for this CD titled
Into the Mystery shares, "I have fallen in love with music again.  I feel like my first ten recordings were practice, and now I'm ready to begin.  These songs are able to say what I never could find words for.  Enjoy!  Thank you for listening." No, David...thank you for not stopping after recording number nine, thank you for continuing to let your heart stay open to the raw beauty of honesty and for sharing your inner journey with others.  Thank you for letting me hear your words and thank you for trusting all of us, your faithful listeners,  with your truth.  Thank you for sending your words on angels wings to save me from despair and to plant a seedling of hope in my heart.  I am tending it with love and patience.  Thank you.

Sometime "a song is
just a song"....or is it?

"I see you dreaming by the ocean window
I hear you breathing like the waves upon the shore
The tide is turning on this time of sorrow
You will never be so lonesome any more

The breezes whisper as the curtain dances
Your dreams are deeper than the mystery of the sea
The sun itself is in the room beside you
With a message of how good your life can be

I know that a heart can just get buried
Stone by stone, crushing hope until it dies
Far away, but the message somehow carries
Beloved, it is time for you to rise.

Time for you to RISE UP...
With a sudden sense of wonder
As the joy comes to your eyes
From the burden you've been under
Beloved, it is time for you to rise.

There's nothing wrong with taking time for sleeping
Your eyes are weary with the things that you have seen
A deeper promise is what your soul is keeping
Right in time for this appointment in your dream

Angels whisper so as not to wake you
There's nothing else in this whole world for you to do
But follow on to where your dream may take you
To see your footsteps from an eagle's point of view

Now I know that a heart can just get buried
Stone by stone, crushing hope until it dies
Far away, but the message somehow carries
Beloved, it is time for you to rise.

Time for you to
Though the promise goes unspoken
When the joy comes to your eyes
For your soul was never broken
Beloved it is time for you to rise
Time for you rise."

- David Wilcox


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