There won’t be no more …Tears in Heaven – Eric Clapton

I have been practicing this song on my piano for weeks now – and I still can’t play it perfectly well. Some days ago the organist played it at the funeral service of a friend who died way too young. The song really got under the skin.

I’m not the only one who has experienced this. There are many testimonies on the internet telling people’s stories with Eric Clapton’s “Tears in Heaven”. I guess it’s not only the melody and the lyrics which appeal to people suffering because they lost a loved one. It is a song written by Clapton after he had experienced exactly this : He had lost his 4-year-old son in an accident.

In this song he takes us on a journey to heaven: “Would you know my name if I saw you in heaven? Would it be the same if I saw you in heaven?” And in the second verse he asks again: “Would you hold my hand if I saw you in heaven? Would you help me stand if I saw you in heaven?

What happens with those who die? I mean, we know: ashes to ashes, dust to dust. But what about the idea of a heaven, everlasting life, living with God eternally that the Christian Church makes us belief in and hope for? Although this idea is not even clearly supported by the Bible for many it is the only consolation: it would be so comforting to know that we will see our beloved ones again and to believe that the separation is only a temporary one. On the other hand, these ideas raise many questions: What would we look like? The way and age we died or an ideal imagine of ourselves, bodiless souls or as Clapton puts it: “Would it be the same if I saw you in heaven?”

I don’t want to speculate about this. Eric Clapton doesn’t either. He comes back to earth very quickly and he knows: “„I must be strong and carry on, ’cause I know I don’t belong here in heaven. “ He knows he has to cope with the change of day and night and the hardship of the earthly existence: “Time can bring you down, time can bend your knees. Time can break your heart, have you begging please, begging please.” Losing someone you love certainly is one of those heartbreaking experiences.

We, the bereaved ones, stay back at the threshold of life and death. However, for Eric Clapton there is hope: “Beyond the door there’s peace I’m sure, and I know there’ll be no more tears in heaven.“ This is the verse which gave the song its name – which should actually be called “No more Tears in Heaven” rather than “Tears in Heaven”!  And there is a biblical reference indeed:  “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain”. (Rev 21,4)

If we could at least believe and hope this, it would help. We’ll see – one thing is for sure: At the end we’ll all go through this door…

For now we can at least try to wipe the tears from each other’s eyes. That would be something, wouldn’t it?!

Let’s talk about God: One of Us – Joan Osborne

http://www.myvideo.de/movie/6987665
Joan Osbourne – One Of Us – MyVideo

Just imagine: you are on your way home from work, sitting on the bus. There is this guy sitting next to you. Well, you don’t know whether to pity him or feel contempt. How can you let yourself go like this? I mean, you don’t have to be dressed up to the nines – but a bit more tidiness would be nice. He doesn’t have a briefcase with him. You suspect he is unemployed and living on welfare and whatever else you imagine in your head. We are quick with our assessment and evaluation of other people, aren’t we? Some people on the bus are busy making phone calls or chatting with their neighbor. This guy next to you is just staring out of the window. He seems to be lonely.

Joan Osborne’s song “One of Us” (click here for lyrics) is about such a guy. Many thanks to my fellow blogger colleague djbaroque and his inspiring blog “My 2011 Musical Diary”  for reminding me of this wonderful song from 1995. In this song Osborne suggests: “What if God was one of us, just a slob like one of us, just a stranger on the bus trying to make his way home”. Can you imagine God as such a slob, sitting next to you in the bus – someone who is lonely, whose contact list on the phone is rather short even if there might be some incoming calls from the Pope – well, that’s something, isn’t it? 😉 : “He’s trying to make his way home, back up to heaven all alone, nobody calling on the phone ‘cept for the Pope maybe in Rome.”

This is clearly not in accordance to the traditions of the big world religions, whereas “God is great” would certainly get the approval of Judaism, Christianity and Islam all together. This creed is repeated throughout the song very often as if to fight the doubts. Many people nowadays have their problems with the image of an almighty, omnipresent God.

So – what if God wasn’t like that? What if he was “a slob like one of us”? Could we put up with a God who is not able to intervene, to end our sufferings, to turn the world around? Do we really want God the Almighty if this meant “that you would have to believe in things like heaven and in Jesus and the Saints and all the prophets.

On the other hand – to have him sit next to us would give us the chance to ask those questions we always wanted to ask him.

What if…we would confine ourselves to seeing God in our fellow human beings? That would give everyone the dignity they deserve, regardless of age, gender, race, looks. The video coming with the song illustrates this idea perfectly well. The whole scenery is somehow surreal – kind of a funfair or kermess, a photo gag with people replacing God’s face: God’s many (human) faces.

I guess if religions would concentrate on seeing God in every human rather than finding “the truth” and fighting each other there would be more peace on earth, more tolerance and respect.

By the way, at the center of Christianity there is a guy who is, well, not a slob, but who was good for a scandal every now and then and who ended up on the cross sentenced as a criminal. Not everybody liked him. God – one of us. Have we really understood what this means? Are we capable of seeing God in the guy on the bus, in our neighbor, in our enemy?

Have you ever considered what YOU would ask God if you had the chance to talk to him?

A sad song about happiness: What Happiness Means To Me – Amy Macdonald


Another year of my life has passed – time to make up a balance. How do I see my life? Am I happy with what I am doing, with what I have achieved so far? Where am I going, what about my plans and dreams? I won’t tell you in detail, but yes, I am happy. And that is why Amy Macdonald’s song This is what happiness means to me from her album “A Curious Thing” (2010) crossed my mind today. You can find the song’s lyrics here.

The song is about happiness but it is a song in minor, rather sad, slow, and thoughtful. : “Maybe in the end we would cry …And the tears did fill my eyes, and the memories they all had passed”. Obviously a great love story has ended: “Will I ever see your face again? Will I ever touch your skin?” There are many reasons to be un-happy, to moan and lament. She has trusted in him. “… I believe in every book I’ve ever read and what you said”. There is enough reason to make accusations, but this just doesn’t happen. I like the way she deals with her feelings and experiences.

What happened, the memories, the good things, the love they shared, makes her happy: “This is what happiness means to me”. Maybe this is the clue to real happiness – to be aware of

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the good things that happen to me even if they don’t last. And they never do, right? Happiness comes along from time to time. I can’t hold on to it, I can’t take it hostage. I can only grasp it at the moment, make it mine forever in my memory. We can learn to be happy. It all depends on how we deal with what happens to us in life. Can we accept it, enjoy it or endure it and let it go if necessary? The memory of all those good moments makes us happy, too.

I am happy today. I could write a long list of people, things, incidents, memories, hopes and dreams that make me happy, incidents that at the time might have troubled me. Now I am happy that they are part of my life. They made me who I am. That’s good.

What about you? Can a song in minor talk convincingly about happiness? Can sad memories make you happy? Then maybe this song is for you as well… 😉

Song for Egypt: It’s My Life – Bon Jovi

 

Yesterday had me glued to the computer screen.  What a day! Will the Egyptian people find the way out of chaos into freedom and democracy? Millions are rallying on the streets of Cairo and Alexandria. What about the other millions? Don’t they care? Are they afraid? Maybe they are just cautious, they don’t understand what’s going on. Who does anyway?

The pictures I see stir me. I hope the Egyptian people’s wish may come true: to live in a free and democratic country.

A song by Bon Jovi comes into my mind: “It’s My Life” (2000): „I ain’t gonna be just a face in the crowd. You’re gonna hear my voice when I shout it out loud!” There is this huge crowd in Cairo – but it consists of individuals. Some of them were interviewed, the crowd suddenly had a face, a voice, a story. It’s as if they were saying: „It’s my life, it’s now or never“, this is the moment of truth. If there is no change now, suppression might go on. I want to live now while it’s not too late to change things, I don’t want to be put off until the next election in September.

This is a song for those who have a rough ride in life. “It’s for Tommy and Gina“. He is a dock worker, she works in a diner. They appear in other Bon Jovi songs such as “Living On A Prayer”. They fight and live their dream: “It doesn’t make a difference if we make it or not, we got each other and that’s a lot for love, we’ll give it a shot.”

This is a song for fighters. Not for those who have already given up: “This ain’t a song for the broken-hearted, no silent prayer for the faith-departed”. It’s for those who go their own way: “I did it my way”, quoting Frank Sinatra. It’s for those who accept the challenge: „Better stand tall when they’re calling you out“. It’s for those who “don’t’ bend, don’t break…don’t back down”.

It’s for Egypt.

I know – it’s easy to give advice and comment sitting on a comfy sofa. People have been killed on the streets, many have been injured. There is certainly no easy solution in this situation. But what else can I do?

So here’s to you Egypt: my thoughts, my prayers go out to you. It’s YOUR life, it’s now or never!

Male fantasies? In My Head – Jason Derulo

You can find the lyrics and the song on youtube.

I have to admit: I like the song. Whenever I hear Jason Derulo’s “In My Head” on the radio while driving the car, I have to sing along. The beat, the melody – it gets me moving. I even have it on my iPod. But, honestly, have you had a look at the lyrics? Come on, guys, do you really have nothing else in mind?

In  1977/78 Klaus Theweleit wrote a book called “Male Fantasies” – I think he would have loved the song as a case study object.

The scene: a club, loud music, people partying. Derulo thinks that “everybody is looking for love”. He might be right. Aren’t we all looking for love, all the time? There might be differences in as what to understand by the word “love”. Derulo makes it quite clear in the course of the song.

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The woman he is talking about is enjoying herself, trying to get to know and meet someone. She is dancing with another man “looking for love”. This is what brings the singer into the arena: „Just say the word and we’ll go“. He comes to the point without hesitation: “I’ll be your teacher, I’ll show you the ropes“. He, of course, is the teacher, the expert in “all things love”, she is the inexperienced student. He makes short work: “Instead of talking let me demonstrate. Get down to business, let’s skip foreplay“. Dancing, talking, foreplay, it’s all “game”, it’s all delay. This may indeed be a “side of love” you haven’t experienced. He adheres to his fantasies. The girl fulfills them: „In my head, I see you all over me. In my head, you fulfill my fantasy.

Maybe, hopefully, she gets her money’s worth, too.

I know, it’s not about the lyrics in this song. It’s about the beat, the rhythm, the performance. But still: the lyrics are there – and they promote a certain image of men and women and their roles, you may like it or not.

At the end of the song I ask myself: Would I want Jason Derulo as my “teacher“? Hmm, not sure…

But then again: I like the song, despite the macho demeanor. It’s not about the lyrics, right?  Let’s just dance the night away… 😉