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?!