All my troubles seemed so far away,
Now it looks as though they're here to stay,
Oh, I believe in yesterday..."
- Paul McCartney
This was my first song. Or at least the first song that reached deep down inside of me and found the ignition to my soul. This was the first song to bring healing to my life. No, it's not a hymn...it is not a gospel song, or a church solo...it is a pop song and it healed me.
Someone asked me recently how I described healing. I thought this was a great question. And since I think questions are the space God carves out in our lives for filling with His allness, I hunger for them. And this one satisfied my longing.
Healing, for me, happens constantly. The word "health"...along with the words "wealth" and "wellness"...spring from the Welsh word for wholeness, "whoelth". So, for me, healing happens each time I discover more of God's All-in-allness, the completeness or wholeness in my consciousness of anything...an experience, the way I look at things, the way I perceive the lives (or bodies) of those who call for spiritual support through prayer, and in the way I accept what is true about the state of the world. Any time I am more aware of how spiritually complete everything is...there is healing.
Which explains why this song was my first healing song.
It was 1965 and I was an 11 year old girl with how to spend my summer vacation on my mind. As a family, we had only just begun studying Christian Science. We were new at attending Sunday School, church, and Wednesday testimony meetings. Sunday School was teaching me to think differently about myself and others. My teacher, Mrs. Garren, was introducing me to truths that would change my life forever. She was asking me to consider a reality in which my thinking...my prayers...could benefit my family, my neighbors, and the world around me.
I wanted to believe this was true, and I would read the Bible lessons each week, but for the most part I was still just an eleven year old girl trying to be happy and not afraid. My problems -- my relationship with my sisters, a new school each year, having what I needed when my parents had 5 other children to care for -- were all just part of my reality...my little world. I felt pretty helpless about being able to alter the course of my own experiences, much less the world...heck, I was only eleven.
But one summer day in 1965 that changed. My sister and I had spent weeks building a fort in our backyard. We were the two oldest in our family of six children and the thought of spending all day with four younger siblings in a small suburban ranch was humiliating. Sharing our already crowded bedroom (our only hope of privacy) with an eight year old and a two year old was an abomination (I remember this being one of my favorite words that summer). How would we ever have friends over, if we had nowhere to take them? Didn't our parents realize that we were almost teenagers?
Our indignity was the mother of our inventiveness. It came in a flash. We had a big backyard and there was scrap lumber from a nearby construction project in the vacant lot nearby, we would build our own house. So we did. We spend endless summer days dragging two-by-fours and rolling wooden phone cable spools through the neighborhood. By the end of the second week we were hammer-bruised, splinter-pierced, and exhaustion-filled, but we had our very own place. Carpet scraps formed a colorful jigsaw floor, while pieces of pale blue corrugated fiberglass used for roofing, cast a soft light on us as we read Nancy Drew books and listened to our transistor radio.
We were in our own little heaven. It was hot, it was dusty, but it was ours.
One afternoon I was lying on my side stretched out with Nancy, George and Bess leading me on one more chase through the backroads of River Heights in Nancy's yellow convertible roadster when the disc jockey announced he would be spinning the latest ballad by The Beatles, "Yesterday." I loved the Beatles. I set my mystery aside and lay back with my arms behind my head and everything fell away but the music.
Paul's voice was rich with pathos and the words penetrated beyond my age of 11 years and 22 days, to the place where I was eternally conscious of what it meant to be human. I found myself weeping. Tears poured quietly from my eyes, down my temples and streamed through my hair to where they pooled in my ears. I could feel something breaking apart in me. I didn't just hear the words, I felt them, and the feeling made me ache with sadness...and a desire to do something that might help mitigate that kind of sadness.
I had discovered my humanity, and as new as it felt, I somehow sensed that it had been there all along buried beneath the rubble of birth, and infancy, and kindergarten, and "she's just a kid" lies about me that tried to convince me that I was not an eternally mature and wholly conscious being. I knew that I was waking up from a deep sleep in which I had dreamed it was okay to be unaware of the feelings of others, caring only about my own happiness, disappointments, needs, and wants. Mrs. Garren's Sunday School lessons had poured onto the dry and dusty places in my heart, and watered the dormant seeds of compassion. With the help of this song, I had been healed of thinking I was just a kid.
I have never been the same.
"...Yesterday, love was such an easy game to play
Now I need a place to hide away
Oh, I believe in yesterday..."
thank you Paul...
Kate Robertson, CS