I have a good friend who is alone tonight following the death of her wife of 30 years last week. In the midst of the fear and panic we are all facing with the pandemic news every day, she must face the additional challenges of finding a new reality, a new normalcy for her life. I’ve published this post several times since the original in 2012, but tonight I dedicate it to Karen and all of us who are struggling to overcome.
I’ve been too long in the wind, too long in the rain,
Takin’ any comfort that I can.
Lookin’ back and longin’ for the freedom of my chains
and lying in your loving arms again.
—— Kris Kristofferson
For the past few days I’ve been haunted by these lyrics, and of course I couldn’t remember the third line exactly so I researched the words on the infallible source of all information: my computer. Google knows everything which seems curious to me about how it knows everything, but then I accept its wisdom and move on. For example, I discovered that Kris Kristofferson wrote the song and recorded it with Rita Coolidge. I wasn’t surprised really because Kris is a wonderful lyricist who sang with a number of women through the years. I was totally surprised, though, at the list of artists that had recorded the Loving Arms ballad. Olivia Newton-John. Dobie Gray. Glen Campbell. Mr. Presley himself. Kenny Rogers. And more recently, the Dixie Chicks. I was also stunned to learn that I can send the tune to my cell phone as a ringtone. I’ll pass on that opportunity for now.
I digress. It’s common for the words of a country music song to occupy my mind for several days. I like country music. I listen to country music when I’m driving around in my old Dodge Dakota pickup by myself. When I’m in Texas, I typically leave the kitchen radio set to the country legends station in Houston and turn the radio on as soon as I get up in the morning– right before I pop the top of my first Diet Coke of the day. I turn that radio off late in the evening – the little click it makes is my own version of Taps.
I digress further. I tried today to reflect on the words, why I had the song in my head in a kind of loop. I’ve been too long in the wind, too long in the rain. Over and over again I sing it. Sometimes I even sing out loud, but mostly it’s inside. Were those the lines that mattered? Was that the secret code? Nope. No more suspense. No more digression.
The key word is comfort. Takin’ any comfort that I can. I love the word comfort. You can have your words solace, console, ease and reassure if you want to. Give me comfort. Seriously, give me comfort. Give us all comfort.
Blessed are those that mourn, for they shall be comforted. I’m not too sure about this beatitude, but I’ll let it slide because I’d like to believe it. All of us who mourn shall be comforted. Our frontage road of grief will slowly merge into the passing lanes of optimism and hope if we are willing to pay the toll required to enter. We pay a price for the passing lanes that make our travels easier as we watch our grief fade away in the rear-view mirror, if we are fortunate enough to have the resources within ourselves to cover the costs.
Now I know the third line of the song perfectly. Lookin’ back and longin’ for the freedom of my chains. What a great line it is, too, but that’s a subject for another story. I’ll let you ponder it on your own while I say good night and take my comfort in two loving arms again.