A hymn, of sorts, for recent times

I had not listened to Bruce Cockburn’s Small Source of Comfort (2011) for a longish while until early last week when I played the album on my iPad to keep me company whilst sorting through a shipment of new books in a church’s basement. The lyrics of the song below seemed so utterly appropriate to the news of the moment they broke my heart. He sums up so perfectly how violent death diminishes us all, and I don’t mean just the death of innocents. Love is hard work, open-hearted tolerance is never the easy path, and trust can be damned difficult, but we are all better when we choose them.

Each One Lost

Under the big lights
shadows stretching long
the ramp is lowered gently to the tarmac
and all of us, we wait
in this sea of gravity
for the precious cargo to appear

And here come the dead boys
moving slowly past
the pipes and prayers and strained commanding voices
and the tears in our hearts
make an ocean we’re all in
all in this together don’t you know

You can die on your sofa
safe inside your home
or die in a mess of flame and shrapnel
we all in our time go
you know you’re not alone
you’re in the hearts of everybody here

Each one lost
is everyone’s loss you see
each one lost is a vital part of you and me

Some would have us bow
in bondage to their dreams
of little gods who lay down laws to live by
but all these inventions
arise from fear of love
and open-hearted tolerance and trust

Well screw the rule of law
we want the rule of love
enough to fight and die to keep it coming
if that sounds like confusion
brother think again
we know exactly what we chose

Each one lost
is everyone’s loss you see
each one lost is a vital part of you and me
Each one lost
is everyone’s loss you see

— Bruce Cockburn

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About pattiblaine

Raised under the name of Snyder in the upstate NY town of Vestal, I've worked as a typesetter, a fast food salad bar tender, an art reviewer, a waitress, a part-time nanny, and a very-bad-with-phones temp. Once upon a time I was all-but-thesis toward a Masters in Art History. Now I'm just a mom with a lot of fiber squirreled away throughout the house. We call it insulation. In 2013 I completed a life-long learning program at Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, and am a postulant toward the diaconate in the Episcopal Diocese of Rochester, NY. In addition to coordinating volunteers for the soup kitchen, I volunteer as a tutor at a deeply impoverished city elementary school, and am a docent at the Memorial Art Gallery.
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