Oh, Darling Ones,
I don’t have religion, instead I have rock & roll. This is not a new thought. It’s a recurring theme in my life.
Sometimes I wish I had religion. I love religious symbols and iconography. I like some of the stories. Most of the people I know who really study religion on both an intellectual and spiritual level are some of the smartest people I know. Sadly, I am not one of them.
I’d like to say I wish I was a religious person, but that would be a lie. For a long time I thought it was the truth. I thought people who had belief in a higher power had access to a sort of solace or comfort when things were bad that I did not. I wanted that. I wanted a deity to bring my solace.
Regardless of how shallow it may seem music is my higher power. I get a lot of solace and comfort from music. It also turns me on physically, emotionally, intellectually. Today, though, music has soothed my rankled soul and distracts me, if only momentarily, from my anger or sadness. I can get lost in a song and find myself wholly transported by the music. If I close my eyes during a song while I’ve got my yellow cans over my ears, I am gone.
Music has been a comfort to me for most of my life, but it wasn’t until that awful fall of 2010 where my love of it started to reach a more spiritual level. The fall of 2010 was when I clutched The Beatles’ “Let it Be” to my heart like a rosary. I sang that song to myself from the moment my mom got the breast cancer diagnosis to when Luke’s plane went missing and right on up to the morning of her surgery the night after they found Luke’s plane.
Whenever I hear “Let it Be,” I think back to that awful week. I mourn a little. I smile a little. I give thanks for that song and my resilient heart.
Music has brought me a lot of comfort on this sad, heavy day. It’s the day after 21 people were killed at a school in Texas. It’s the anniversary of George Floyd being murdered by the Minneapolis police. It’s March 815th, 2020 in COVID Standard Time. It’s all a lot all of the time.
However, for brief moments throughout the day I got to put aside my anger and disappointment and think about how my friend Ray gave me The Weakerthans all those years ago at the bowling alley. And I thought about seeing The Hold Steady* with tween-aged Jaycie and Max from the front steps of the Basilica. And I rejoiced in the chikka chikka chikka salt shaker sound in Rilo Kiley’s “It’s a Hit.”
And I lost count of how many times I closed my eyes, threw my head back, and sang the words, “well I can dip my head in the river, cleanse my soul, oh. I’ll still have the stomach of a sinner. Face like an unholy ghost” as loud as I could while listening to Frightened Rabbit’s “Holy.”
It’s the closest I can come to prayer.
Darling Ones, I’m fucking bereft. Things have been so bad for so long I have no hope that anything will get better. The suffering will continue unabated and our government will continue to gaslight us about their ability to do anything.
It’s so bad and I don’t know what else to do but type and sing in a small effort to make myself feel better if only for a minute.
I hate it here,
*Thanks for the headline, Craig Finn and your song “Stay Positive” which I definitely am not doing.
P.S. I also find great comfort in books and last night I turned to Lily King’s Writers & Lovers, which I’ve read three or four times now.