The venue and the song were of course very moving. I haven't heard the song for a long time and was never fond of the overblown way that it was usually sung. But this version was very stripped down and somehow it was like I heard the lyrics for the first time. Gone was the quasi religiousness (although it remains a favourite in the gospel repertoire) and up front was the very life affirming message in its lyrics.
It's a message for individuals as well as groups; whether we struggle with our own loneliness or with our community estrangement. Shit happens, life's not one long musical and it can be very painful just to get through another day. We cope by burying our head in the sand and ignoring it; by telling ourselves that all is for the best in this best of all possible worlds - or by living better through chemistry.
What this song has made me realize is that loneliness is a much tougher adversary when battled alone; that the only effective way to combat it is with the support of friends. Now, friends can be family, or anyone that supports you and loves you for who you are - blemishes and all. They are there when you need them - whether you ask for it or not.
I am blessed with having such friends. I was going through a particularly bad spell this sumer. And I did what a lot of people do when they are wounded; I drew into myself. I didn't want to see anyone or hear from anyone. In fact, I rescinded an invitation to drop by my place rather abruptly. Well, that didn't go over well. A couple of my friends came knocking on my door anyway. They did not catch me in my best Martha Stewart moment.
I was angry, sad and feeling very vulnerable. They were just there and watched the soap opera. It was the first time in a long, long while when I can actually say that I was totally unguarded. I was a mess and guess what; they liked me, they really liked me. It was rather embarrassing.
So after a lot of wine and tears, they left and I was left feeling exhausted and humbled. This truly caught me off guard.
Has my life turned around? No. Do I still think, "Why bother?", yes. But, I also know that I have friends and a husband that won't let me quit. And I, as a friend will do what I can to prop up those dear to me. I will be that umbrella in the shit storm.
Take a few minutes and listen to these lyrics. And, I'm sure it will not come as a surprise to "my friends" that I have chosen this beautiful Judy Garland rendition. First, because no one sings hope like the "Over the Rainbow" girl and second, noone can put across a lyric like this icon.
Judy! Judy! Judy!