Gravity is an incredible force. To think how massive the earth is and that because of the sun’s gravity it doesn’t just fly off into space. Because of gravity (among some other variables) most of us can’t jump high enough to touch a ten foot basketball rim. Ten feet? Really? We’re being drawn in by a giant planet.
I would argue that an even greater force draws or almost pushes us toward one another. I watched a video today of little kids who were surprised by their soldier dads who came to visit them. The kids had almost no control of their joyful legs as they ran toward their dad, propelled by the force of a love that draws them in. They thought not of where to place their little arms, or how best to hug their dad. They bounded into their dad’s embrace. It was as if that’s where they were meant to be the whole time. I feel it with my own boys. I won’t lie, not every minute in my house is a tear-jerking, you-tube moment, but they count on me, they need me, they’re drawn to me; and by nothing that I’ve done, but merely by who I am. Our DNA, our blood, transcends space and science, grabs and pushes them and Alissa and I together.
Yesterday I stumbled upon an artist named Jeff Buckley. Jeff was born in 1966. His dad, Tim, was just about to hit the music scene in a major way. Tim was overwhelmed by the notion of being a dad and split. He rocketed to the top of Folk/Rock music and instantly rejected the success by spewing out music that missed the mainstream, all the while leaving Jeff to his mom and her new husband. When Jeff was 8, he got to meet his dad after watching his show from his mom’s lap. Jeff ran backstage and sat on the knee of this 28 yr old man that he’d never met and talked his ear off for 15 minutes. Jeff never saw his dad again, as Tim Buckley died a few months later from a heroine/alcohol overdose.
Jeff grew up in California where he, too, chased the dream of becoming a musician. After some disappointing efforts, Jeff got asked to sing one of his dad’s songs at a tribute held in New York, FOR his dad. Strangely enough, Jeff sang the song that Tim wrote about how he wasn’t prepared to be the mountain he needed to be for Jeff. That performance gained Jeff some attention and in the next few years, Jeff officially debuted with a stunning album he called “Grace”. He, like his dad, wasn’t quite sure what to do with his success once he acquired it. Shy yet passionate, he wasn’t one to bask in the limelight, as his shimmering voice threw one’s ears back to Nina Simone and, of course, to his dad, Tim.
In 1997, he was working on his second major album and the 30 year old went swimming one night in the Wolf River next to Memphis, TN and drowned.
Even though it’s old news, this story is obviously tragic on many levels. Why am I drawn to it? I think because it speaks to the fact that we are designed to exist in connection with one another, that sometimes, we don’t have a choice in the matter, and that our souls just might tell us the story before it even happens.
There is a gravitational pull that bring many of us together. For some, it’s the art of another that transports our souls to a place we would’ve never been able to go otherwise. These two forces; community and creativity, feed into each other, feed our souls, and grow in us so that others may taste the “good” that the Bible says God saw in that very first chapter.
The tragedy is that we’ve built walls up between each other, with social status, skin color, religion and politics. We all know I’m not the first to name these walls, but how long will I live within their confines? How long will you?
One of the songs off of Jeff Buckley’s “Grace” album is called “Hallelujah”. Here’s a video of Jeff singing it and playing his guitar. It’s hauntingly beautiful, in my opinion. If you get nothing else from this post, at least hear the soul-cry from this young man. The song brings the message that often the songs from the very Spirit of God can be tainted by us and our feeble and sometimes failed attempts to sing that love back to one another.