‘Say, Say the Light' | Sojourners

‘Say, Say the Light'

A shadowed figure stands looking at the galaxy.
Jeremy Thomas / Unsplash

EVERY FEW YEARS I rediscover a song by R.E.M., “You are the Everything.” It juxtaposes despair over the state of things (“Sometimes I feel like I can't even sing / I'm very scared for this world”) with deceptively simple memories: A starry sky. The sensations of a random moment long ago. The feel of our own bodies. The sight of someone beloved (“I look at her and I see the beauty / of the light of music”).

This song gives me cathartic comfort when the news seems too much to bear. It doesn't erase famine, wars, rumors of wars, a friend's bad pathology report, or my concern over the body politic. But my position shifts; I anchor myself to the beauty of creation, to the miracle of being an embodied soul, to the fragile graces of human relationship, and to the One who brought it all into being. Thin guy wires of memory and spirit steady me against sweeping currents of events, so that I can focus on them, yet not drown.

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