Friday, December 9, 2011

Fri Dec. 9 - Eyes Wide Open (Iron and Wine)

In [Jesus] all things were created... he is before all things, and in him all things hold together."
                            -- Colossians 1:16-17 selected

At a young age I realized this eternal truth about great pop music while listening to Paul Simon's Graceland album: a truly great song is one where I can mishear the lyrics and love both the true and false versions equally well.
This is true of most Iron and Wine songs, and Walking Far From Home is one I particularly love precisely because there are so many delightful and thought-provoking things to mishear.

The delicious mystery is what keeps my eyes and ears open, not just to this song, but to the world.  I have no idea what the ultimate meaning of the song is, but I sense that it has something to do with awareness, loving the broken and the lost, and hope.  These are all ideas that remind me again of our theme for this week: what helps?  What helps with our longings and our brokenness?  What helps with the waiting?  Iron and Wine reminds me that what helps is keeping our eyes truly open to what's going on around us, taking in the grace and the grime.

Walking Far From Home is like a lullaby for the world as I'd want it written: sad and gorgeous, compassionate and hopeful, tragic, honest and humane.  For me, it speaks of our essential identity as wanderers in this world, and yet of the ways in which we are ultimately drawn back together in God's embrace.  It invites us to open our eyes and celebrate the beauty of Creation, even in its broken state.

The lyrics are worth reading HERE, but it's also good just to "mishear" the first time around... what do you hear?

This song invites us, in the words of Mary Oliver, to be "a bride married to amazement,/ ...the bridegroom, taking the world into [our] arms."  Or, to take the challenge further, as Mother Francis Dominica states, to remember that "Nothing in your life is so insignificant, so small, that God cannot be found at its center."  This song challenges me to look for beauty and meaning (manifestations of God) in all places, even the strange and painful, the outcast and despairing.  I may not see God immediately, or even at all, but at the end I will have looked with my whole eyes and my whole Spirit, and maybe in that way will have embodied God's presence in that space.

I like to think that Jesus' healing ministry began with his unflinching gaze upon the rejected, the sinners and the lost that acknowledged their deep humanity beyond their brokenness.  Conversely, any of us who have sat at the side of a stranger who was ill or dying, or a friend who had become lost in their own despair knows that sometimes the only possible response is to look, to look with love and grace and peace into the mystery of this one human life which touches all human life... and with that look acknowledge that life is more than just the meat of things; that there is an awe-ful beauty at the heart of our lives, and it is there, sometimes, where we are able to fall back into God's embrace.

Saw a wet road
form a circle
and it came like a call, came like a call
from the Lord.
                                 - Iron and Wine

May we allow ourselves to look fully and deeply at the things we love and the things that hurt in these days, seeking God at the center and knowing peace along the way.
                                           - Anna

1 comment:

  1. This really speaks to me today, Anna. That looking with our whole selves, seeking out God's self-revelation in the midst of this beautiful, broken world. And seeking to allow God to be made manifest through us as well. Amen.

    P.S. I still don't really get that line about the wet road.