Monday, July 21, 2014

Pain is the Touchstone of Growth--and Music

I was out for my evening walk tonight and listening to music on my iShuffle. It's kind of the Third Step way to listen--I take what the shuffle delivers. I noticed that song after song --many old timey favorites --are songs that we associate with good times.

But maybe it was walking at dusk that shifted my perception but I began to notice that some of the most beautiful love songs were written in World War II and they were written for and by people who would never see their beloved again. Today we cherish these as sweetheart songs forgetting they were actually  songs of grief.

Similarly music from The Great Depression. I have the sound track to "Oh Brother Where Art Thou" (Coen Brothers masterpiece movie) on the iShuffle and I kept hitting repeat to sing along to "Keep on the Sunny Side."

Often today we speed up that song and sing it like a happy dance when it was in fact a song of lost hope and last resort for people who had lost everything and who were starving.

Maybe we do know the pathos under those loves songs and the heartfelt melancholy embedded in Depression Era music. A part of us--the part we reclaim in recovery--can feel joy even in grief and hope even in fear.

Here's a sample: Click the link below to hear The Whites sing, "Keep on the Sunnyside" . This is close to the beautiful version they performed for "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou."

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