"Wild and sweet, the words repeat of peace on earth, good-will to men!"
I recently reconnected with my old friend Heidi from college-- a blessing to have her wit, intelligence, and artistic sentiments present in my life again.
Yesterday she wrote of her sadness over Obama's impending exit from presidency. She also wrote about hearing the sound of a train whistle blowing, and how it reminded her of Johnny Cash's classic song "Folsom Prison Blues". Why, she wondered, did this song resonate so much with her? It struck me that it makes perfect sense for her to relate to a blues song-- given the current climate in America.
As a musical genre, the blues represent sadness and melancholy. Like Heidi, many of us are feeling a tremendous sense of loss over the end of a presidency that exemplified the eloquence, grace, and lovingkindness many of us hold precious and strive to embody everyday. We are in a state of mourning and fearful of the hate that still threatens the lives of many of our fellow brothers and sisters.
Johnny Cash recorded "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day" for his album The Christmas Spirit in 1963. It's based on a Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poem written 100 years earlier. Longfellow wrote "Christmas Bells" just a few months before Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox Court House in 1865 during the American Civil War. This was a time full of despair and the nation was in desperate need of hope.
So this song resonates. Deeply. After a brutally divisive election, let us hope and pray that we all remember, moving forward, the plea Lincoln implored of a nation, that "the better angels of our nature".. prevail.