Recently a few of us from my church were visiting the renovated Massey Hall and came across one of the new lounge areas with wallpaper featuring past artists who performed at the hall. One of the artists was the Canadian folksinger Gordon Lightfoot who regularly performed to sold out crowds and who sadly passed away this week at the ripe old age of 84.
My memories of Lightfoot go back to my first real job as a school cleaner when I was 15 at Pape Avenue School. Each day after school I travelled from classroom to classroom picking up trash and sweeping floors to tidy them up for the next school day. To my surprise one of the classrooms featured a turntable and a collection of records—some of them showcasing the talent of Gordon Lightfoot. As cleaners we weren’t supposed to touch the teacher’s belongings but I couldn’t resist and put Lightfoot’s music on while I cleaned the room. I can tell you that the room became a personal retreat zone as I soaked in the sounds and story telling abilities of the Canadian raconteur. To my chagrin I was found out by the chief caretaker who didn’t think I should have any pleasure in the job and he put an end to my musical adventure. He stopped the vinyl from turning but he couldn’t stop my appreciation of this guitar picking story teller from Orillia who made his mark on the world’s stage.
Lightfoot’s classic tune “If You Could Read My Mind” has been called the perfect song as the lyrics, melody and harmony are wed together. However, beyond the musical craft the song also evokes the silent question which all of us bear: “If you could only read my mind?” If you really knew me…saw deep into my soul…could read my spirit…understood my thoughts…then you would see me as something beautiful and good. And if I could only penetrate your defence shields I would behold your beauty and grace. Alas, as the singer sings, the moment of insight slips away. The point of contact is gone and our memories dim into the shroud of obscurity.
The challenge we face is the galactic distance between our inner spaces. You are “there” and I am “here.” Yet, there remains the possibility for connection and understanding if we listen to the whispers of our hearts. As the fox says to the Little Prince,
And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye. (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)
Thanks for reading Musings on the Spiritual Journey! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.
"what is essential is invisible to the eye". Essential if our mind could be read. I often wonder if we do see the other perspective what would we say. " if only ", my mom often say " If only" was a horse, it would run late" ....like Lightfoot song if you could read my mind. But Only One can do that and He search the heart not only know it but search it.
How is it that one of your granddaughters is such a rule follower??!