“Your time may come. Do not be too sad, Sam. You cannot be always torn in two. You will have to be one and whole, for many years. You have so much to enjoy and to be, and to do.”
-J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King
The album “3” by The Black Heart Procession was released 19 years ago. I had never heard a dirge so hopeless in all my life. I had been in a bit of a rut with my musical selections and had no particular life soundtrack at the time. It is tragically funny that this became my soundtrack. Reason being, I tend to romanticize what we “had” in our marriage. I do that because it had so much good about it that I always felt outweighed the bad. The problem was that the bad was never addressed. She refused intervention and the problems only stewed until they finally boiled over.
This was also a time when I was trying to find a way out of my job of intense labor as a sub-contractor in the construction work force. I’d been involved with it for a decade and I was over it. My former wife did not care what I did in life as long as it generated an abundance of wealth. The wealth never came.
I have a very vivid memory of spending a day demolishing a metal fire escape that led from a second story apartment in a multi-unit house that I was in the process of turning back into a single family home. After a great deal of pain, frustration, and exhaustion, I sat at the top of the threshold with my legs dangling over the void where the escape had been earlier that day. The Black Heart Procession were lamenting lost love in the background. I was well-aware then that I was in a loveless marriage - 16 years before it was over. But I continued to have a relationship, a job, a way of life that was detrimental to me, to her, to our children. I sat on that threshold and wept for a very long time.
The looking back is so unhealthy. The looking forward is what I do now and God! how refreshing that is! There is a line in today’s offering, “Till We Have To Say Goodbye” that mourns, “But you’ll never know this life till you have to say goodbye.” I always saw this song, like most songs on this album, as completely lost and hopeless. But viewing life through rosy eyes, I now take that line as gospel. If I had not finally been able to say goodbye, I would never have had the ability to move forward - to put myself in a position to know this life. And this is a life I look forward to living.