Tuesday night, I was blessed to attend the Broadway show, Girl from the North Country. Set to the soundtrack of Bob Dylan, it tells the story of strangers surviving at a boarding house in the 1930’s. The family that runs the house provide the main storylines, but the guests add complexity and sorrow to the harsh reality of this time.
As much as I enjoyed this show, it was and is equally haunting. I find myself resonating with a variety of the characters, often feeling the sorrow in how so many currently live in such poverty and loneliness, and how many of us are not too far away from losing our safety and security.
While I continue to process this new Broadway hit, I am most struck by one of the lyrics from Dylan’s song, Señor:
Señor, señor, let’s disconnect these cables
Overturn these tables
This place don’t make sense to me no more
Can you tell me what we’re waiting for, señor?
We have all been there before, those times when our current situation no longer works, no longer makes sense. We change, as do others and institutions. At times we see it in the present, while often, we find and better appreciate this reality while looking back.
At first thought, upon hearing these lyrics during the show, I thought of death. I imagined one at the end of their life, with their generation no longer present. I wonder if that thought might resonate as one’s life is slipping through their fingers.
My second thought was the sorrow when one passes before they make it to this point, when their departure does not make sense as it feels less natural and unexpected.
As I sat with these words over the past few days, I was taken away from the grave and moved toward all of life’s stages.
How often we stay in a relationship, or situation, or circumstance when it no longer makes sense?
How often we stay stuck in a habit or structure that while once gave life now takes it away.
One has to ask as Dylan does: what are we waiting for?
When life makes sense, even if it is a small part of it, we should fall to our knees in praise and thanksgiving to the Almighty as we all know what a gift this is, and how quickly it can be taken away.
In areas where it is just not working, we must re-assess and make changes- not only for you, but for others.
Find creative ways, seek spiritual and practical guidance, find new ways to live and to breathe life into your world and those who you accompany. Overturn the tables of your life, not in anger but in discovery. Change your world.
There is the ultimate death, but many small and big ones come before that. Like the end, we pray and hope in the life that follows all of these endings, trusting the growth and the grace that accompany these transitions.
When it no longer makes sense, let go and let be. It is here when we can re-imagine our present and future, where we can better live and serve.