As I often do when I’m in a reflective mood, I found myself yesterday evening playing music to match. Unlike the days of my youth, when this would have also given me some physical exercise in getting up to change the vinyl disc on the turntable, nowadays it is very easy to sit comfortably and go from album to album, track to track just by clicking on your device of choice. I use Apple Music for this, and have a vast library to choose from! It will be great when they deliver on the promise to extend the limit you can have in your own library from the current 25,000 songs to 100,000, as this will enable me to be even lazier about storing what I want to hear! Skipping tracks or moving to another album has never been easier, and I do it a lot!
I listen to a lot of singer/songwriters and one of my favourites is Mary Chapin Carpenter, whose every album is in my collection. I alighted on the song Why Shouldn’t We, from her album The Calling, and played it several times. It is a simple, beautiful song, like so many of hers, but this was the first time I’d really listened properly to the words. I also found a lovely live version of it on YouTube, which I’m sharing with you in case you don’t know the song:
The song starts with the simple message of why shouldn’t we believe in something or someone that we can’t see, i.e. God, and moves on to a range of other intangible elements of the human spirit, asking the same question. I was brought up as a Christian, attended a Church of England primary school, and my stepmother is an ordained priest, so I’ve always had those influences. But I’ve tended to regard myself as more an agnostic than a true believer. I want to believe that there is a spiritual guiding force, but find it hard to reconcile that with the amount of hatred and hurt in the world. I also think I have a limited imagination – you should see my pathetic attempts at writing fiction! – and this does, I feel, present a barrier to my acceptance of a faith. But as I get older, having retired and enjoying lots of time to think, I’m beginning to wonder whether there may be something here for me after all.
I’ve always tried to be the best person I could be and would hope that everyone does this, although in some it appears to be hidden more deeply than in others! Do I need to attach myself to a formal religion or faith to do this? Well, I’m 62 and haven’t really given this much thought for the best part of fifty years, so perhaps I don’t? But, listening to MCC’s words which, as always, are intelligent and meaningful, I’m beginning to think that I may need to find something. I’m not looking for a magical epiphany moment, and don’t really think I have enough spirituality for that to happen anyway, but I have this nagging feeling which is beginning to gnaw away at me that there may be something more that I need in my life.
I suspect that this is some kind of response to my personal circumstances – divorce eight years ago, a change of lifestyle with my retirement, and a spell of depression four years ago which has left me on anti-depressants until now. But hopefully my doctor will agree that I don’t need to take these any more when I next see him, at the end of this month, and my current dosage is very low in any case. I am asking myself why that happened, was there a reason for it, and was I supposed to learn something from it. I don’t know, but I am thinking more and more about it.
As the old Johnny Nash song says, there are more questions than answers. I’m not sure that anyone has yet even got close to finding all of those answers. I know I haven’t! But I intend to keep looking, and suspect that I’ll return to this topic at some point.
I hope my rambling, and MCC’s more concise and meaningful words, help you to think about that for yourself too. I feel that there is much we can all do to enrich our own lives, and the lives of those we care about. At the very least, we can all try!