Love Songs From God

I was listening to this today:

Yes, yes, I know, Renée Fleming again. What can I say, I have a mild obsession.

Anyway. This is her cover of a famous Joni Mitchell song, “River,” from a really wonderful album of jazz covers (rather than opera). Here’s another song, from the same album, I was also listening to today:

So, lately…Oh, you know, I get tired of talking about this sometimes (and sometimes wonder if people are tired of hearing about it, one reason I think I haven’t been saying much here lately) …so suffice to say, healing is still a struggle, with better days and worse days, and mostly a sense that things that have been stuck and stagnant are moving again. I was going to say something about “progress” but that is too linear for a process which to me does not feel particularly linear at all.

Acupuncture has helped. Spiritual direction helps. Love of friends and my cielo helps. And I have to say it, even if you laugh, Renée Fleming helps.

In spiritual direction I learned that immersion in beauty is, for me, one of the best counterbalances to my pretty constant immersion in the muck and pain of life. I’ve been trying to find ways to do that, and for now it is coming a lot through music. In fact what made me realize it was going to the Met’s Live in HD broadcast of Der Rosenkavalier (starring you-know-who). I was swept away. The next week in spiritual direction I realized that I was so swept away that my brain-on-hypercritical-deconstructive-overdrive actual shut its damnself up for four hours and just let me enjoy the wonder and beauty of moments like this one.

I loved it so much I went back and saw the encore showing.

In enjoying one youtube posting after another of Renée (may I call you that? surely by now we are on a first-name basis), I rediscovered her jazz album, Haunted Heart, which I actually had forgotten that we own (silly me). I’ve been listening to some of the songs over and over and the point I am trying to get to is this:

Renée’s voice is like God singing to me.

I don’t mean that like, “Oh, she has such a divine voice,” although certainly she does. No, what I mean is, in these days when I need to feel God close, She is showing up through this music, this voice, to remind me that I’m loved, and I’m not alone.

And, apparently, She sings me love songs, gorgeous ones, like “My One and Only Love,” that I posted above.

So I got to wondering…”River” is a sad song. It’s a song about love lost. When Renée sings this lyric:

Oh I wish I had a river
I could skate away on
I’m so hard to handle
I’m selfish and I’m sad
Now I’ve gone and lost the best baby
That I ever had
Oh I wish I had a river
I could skate away on
I wish I had a river so long
I would teach my feet to fly
Oh I wish I had a river
I could skate away on
I made my baby say goodbye

…I wonder, does God feel that way sometimes? When I am sad and hurting and ticked off at God, does She sing sad, lament-y love songs about Her haunted heart and how She’s trying to figure out how to win me back?

I’d like to think so…I think the prophets express this sometimes. And it opens up a whole new way, for me, of thinking about my relationship with the Divine One, one that is not about duty and responsibility, but rather is about longing, and love, and holds room even for pain. And in holding room for pain, there is then the possibility of comfort. And healing.

On a cold, snowy, day, I am thinking about this kind of God…

In the night, though we’re apart
There’s a ghost of you within my haunted heart
Ghost of you, my lost romance
Lips that laugh, eyes that dance

Haunted heart won’t let me be
Dreams repeat a sweet but lonely song to me
Dreams are dust, it’s you who must belong to me
And thrill my haunted heart, be still, my haunted heart

Dreams are dust, it’s you who must belong to me
And thrill my haunted heart, be still, my haunted heart


2 thoughts on “Love Songs From God

  1. I adore this post. It so echoes what I so often feel and have been discovering in my own journey. I am finding, too, that I must–just absolutely must–immerse myself in beauty and hope if I am to be of any use to a broken world. For me I find that beauty in SparkleEyes, music, spicy food, being outside, good books…and, lately, Susan Boyle. I think I may begin to think of her album as a love song. You've hit on something really gorgeous there. And I'm going to have to check out all this Renee stuff too! I've got one of her albums, and adore it, but I think I'd enjoy her in jazz even more.

    Let's do something beautiful and nurturing together soon. Love you!


  2. I love “Bride of the Wind” it is a great soundtrack (Mahler & Renee singing Olma Mahler) and check out the movie, fabulous!

    Of late, I am collecting muses…

    If you do not have Renee's DVD of La Traviata, get it, and warning, it is wonderfully addictive!!

    I try and immerse myself in beauty also, and yes, Renee is a large part of the sound track…



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