Readers Write on “Gratitude” #2

In November, we are featuring three guest writers who have submitted pieces on “Gratitude”. We will post these throughout the month. Next month’s subject is “Holidays” and everyone is welcome to submit a non-fiction piece. Send your essays to scottbierko@gmail.com by November 30, 2022.

SAVED BY A SONG by Scott M.

Several years after my divorce, my son began elementary school. This required my driving him forty minutes twice per week to his school which was close to his mom’s house. This was his legal home, where he lived over half the time. The ride there was always joyous because he was with me, but that long drive home alone always twisted that “my son was only with me part-time” knife. During this return drive, I would turn on the radio or play CDs to attempt to distract myself from the agony.

George Harrison

One particular morning on the drive back, I was feeling pretty low knowing I’d not see my little boy for several days. Suddenly this new version of George Harrison’s song, My Sweet Lord, came on the radio. This was not the song I knew. Apparently, this recording was from a new collection called My Sweet Lord 2000. I was stunned at how different George sounded; he was joyous while singing, rather than voicing the more serious tone of the original where he clearly was testifying his intent to be close to God. This new version, right down to the new guitar tracks, was celebratory and filled with swirling happiness and contentment. He was telling us that he had made it happen and was sharing his journey. One must listen to both versions back-to-back, to truly understand. The difference is profound and deeply beautiful.

George’s joy seeped deeply into me on this particular drive home and I found myself realizing that all would be well. It was, frankly, miraculous. I listened to this version many times for the next few years during those lonely drives home; I would find myself feeling as if lifted and held in the air, warmed by the sun. This new version of My Sweet Lord helped me find ways to cope. It gave me hope.

Over time, my son grew up, got married, and turned me into a grandpa. While all that life was happening, my second wife and I had a baby girl. Having a second child who was ten years younger than my son offered opportunities to relive many things, good and bad. For the most part, I did a pretty good job of being smarter. The other day, however, so many difficult pre-teen pressures, sass, defiance, and feelings of fatigue overwhelmed me to the core. It was not pretty.

I headed out in my pickup truck to hunt down a book for my daughter that was needed for a very-late book report. I was feeling worn to the bone and pretty done, frankly. I found myself wondering if I could survive all the coming drama at my age and if I’d be able to live up to the task of being a good parent. I did not want to let my little girl down during these critical years, but I was not filled with hope, to say the least.

Then once again out of the blue, came George. I turned on the radio and it linked with my phone through Bluetooth, despite my thinking the phone was off. On came My Sweet Lord 2000. I had forgotten it was still in my library. I hadn’t heard it in years.

At this moment all I could think of was my little boy, the old divorce, the pain and loss, and those long days without him. I began to relive the sadness, feeling helpless about the pressures of my second child, so many years later. Yes, we all know a song can take us back to those moments. But… George knew and was prepared. The drums kicked in, and the older, wiser, and more joyous George’s vision filled the cabin of my pickup truck. I was reminded yet again, years later, that all would be well. 

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