About a year ago, a lonely and heartbroken and deeply pensive poet sat in a booth at a Denny’s restaurant in Canby, Oregon, and took out a notebook, opened it to a blank page, and wrote in small and cramped and nearly illegible left-handed printing the following poem, originally conceived as song lyrics:

When will I see
Better days than I have known,
Days of joy and gladness
Where much love is shown?

When will I see
The pieces of my broken soul
Taken up with loving arms
And sewn together whole?

When will I see
The child within me safe and sound
No longer in terror
That he’ll only know peace underground?

Oh, Lord, can’t you fix me? I’m broken.
Can’t you let me hear What good will you’ve spoken?
Can’t you send me the love For which I’ve been hoping?
Oh Lord, can’t you fix me? I’m broken.

Waiting for the light I see
That I am misunderstood,
Feared for what I could do,
Even if I never would.

Waiting for the light I see
Myself lonely and cast down
Made rejected and ashamed
And a byword all around.

Waiting for the light I see
An endlessly bleak night,
And after all the darkness I’ve seen
That simply isn’t right.

Oh Lord, can’t you fix me? I’m broken.
Can’t you let me hear What good will you’ve spoken?
Can’t you send me the love For which I’ve been hoping?
Oh Lord, can’t you fix me? I’m broken.

No matter where I go
I can’t escape my life,
Can’t find a way beyond
All this drama and strife.
No matter what I say,
I always go too far,
And give my wounded soul
Another painful scar.

Oh Lord, can’t you fix me? I’m broken.
Can’t you let me hear
What good will you’ve spoken?
Can’t you send me the love
For which I’ve been hoping?
Oh Lord, can’t you fix me, I’m broken.

Oh Lord, can’t you fix me? I’m broken.”

As someone who spends a fair amount of time discussing the possible secret meaning of song lyrics [1], and someone who appreciates the lyrical efforts of others, I have been at times very reticent about sharing my own lyrics. After all, I did turn that particular verse into a song demo that a friend of mine added a techno dirge to, making it a gloomy and dark and reflecting song, which well suited the lyrics. While when it comes to many songs there is a dispute over interpretation of lyrics and what the author originally intended, when speaking about one’s own works, someone who is self-aware knows exactly what they are talking about.

I was invited by a friend of mine to possibly listen to a poetry reading from the poet laureate of Oregon, including the poems of a previous Oregon poet. I also finished reading a book today (whose book review is pending in about a couple of months) about the struggle that people have to be content while single, a book I am supremely qualified to review, and one that is clearly directed at such an audience as I am a part of. In a way, both of these matters relate very painfully well to the poem I wrote that gloomy evening in Canby, reflecting on my own brokenness, the brokenness of others around me, and the way in my life has always proven to be difficult and complicated beyond anything I have ever wanted for myself or others.

Unlike many of the songs I review, but rather like many of my own reflections here and elsewhere, there is very little commentary or analysis that is necessary in the words themselves. As is often the case, when I poured my sorrow and anguish out, I left it open and honest. Nevertheless, as the Passover approaches, this song itself forms part of my own melancholy reflections about the fact that we too in our lives are not unlike the matzo bread that symbolizes the broken body of our Savior, who died to free us from the burdens of our lives and our just wages for sin. We too are broken by our own blunders and by the horrors of the sins that others have committed against us. Sometimes, as has been the case for me, we can see both of them and their complicated connections in painful relief.

When we face into the darkness that cuts into the heart and mind of every man, woman, and child, it is easy to get swallowed up in it. It is easy to try to distract it with endless busywork, or to despair of ever seeing the light again, or trying to drown it at the bottom of a bottle. And yet, ultimately, the only way to resolve such a darkness is to shine a light on it, to bring it out into the daylight, so that it loses its fearful edge. Ultimately, the only way to shine that light is to be filled with a light that is beyond ourselves. Only in such a way can the dark musings of a melancholy poet reflecting on one of the more unpleasant episodes of a deeply traumatic life be something more, a song that is grimly honest about brokenness but also full of passionate yearning and longing for wholeness and restoration, like creation as a whole, subject to futility against its will, but created with a far better destiny in mind than it has ever known.

[1] See, for example:

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in Christianity, Church of God, Love & Marriage, Musings and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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