Pilgrim’s Progress

You wake up in the morning and you look at your mind with some despair and you wonder what kind of damage the demons caused while you slept. Something in there has been torn apart, and you know you’re going to find out what it was. Then you regret sleeping because when you are awake some of the demons stay away, they are at least cautious of your resilience because they haven’t yet taken you down. But then you realise your hubris, those demons are just patient, letting you destroy yourself, and they know the longer it takes, the more complete your destruction.

And you get up and you march your way through the day and people ask you how you are and you don’t dare tell them the truth because the demons are listening in, better than the CIA or KGB, and if they heard you admit their victories they would be even more encouraged and emboldened. So you lie and smile and hope the person who asked you is an angel and can read your mind and see the war inside you and they will seclude you away and remove your poisons and heal your wounds and rejuvenate you and calm and guide you with a soft voice until your soul is beautiful and peaceful and worthy of being loved. And if not that person, maybe the next.

You can only distract yourself for so long with a job that doesn’t really benefit anybody, or with buying a new pair of shoes, or watching television, or whatever. Modern alienation. But then in records, in songs, in music, you hear other voices from people who feel the same way you do, and you share it with your friends, and in some melodic magic we are all connected, and we can see it each other’s eyes, and we feel good, and we feel hope.

And if through that path, through music, we start thinking and saying “we” more than “I” or “you”, the demons have less room inside of us, their voices become quieter. And besides, it’s much harder to hear them over Ray Charles singing “I’ve Got A Woman” or Stevie Wonder singing “We Can Work It Out”. I’m not saying music will save our souls, but maybe it helps keep them together until we get all the rest of life sorted out.



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