“Oh, Mystery of Life…”

“Look among the nations and see; wonder and be astounded. For I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe if told.” – Habakkuk 1:5

I was recovering from COVID last month. COVID was kinda scary. I was sick last fall – non-COVID – and wasn’t worried about recovering. But with COVID, I didn’t know what was gonna happen. I was pretty sick for a few days, and slowly, got my strength and health back. But I did get somewhat depressed. I was holed up in my room for days, couldn’t really go anywhere and got bored of watching TV. I began to feel despairing. I felt that there wasn’t anything left to do. Hopeless, if you will.

Then there has been some domestic turbulence since we landed into our new house, and that grieved me. And maybe some subsequent grief from my parents’ passing still tugged at my heart. You know when you’re sick, your mother is the only one who can take care of you, who wants to take care of you. And, possibly, the fact that my youngest turned 18 last year, and she and the others no longer needed me. Probably all of these combined with being sick had me feeling down in the dumps. I mean “depths of despair” dumps.

On top of all that, I’m the kind of person that looks forward to things. I had been looking forward to buying a house for a long time. I spent a lot of time browsing through Redfin. And then the big moment came when I took the plunge and bought a nice house. And now that I’ve committed to staying in one place for awhile, all that energy I expended looking and dreaming for the next thing (which, of course, was greener grass syndrome) needs to be redirected because the next thing is here. And now I have to deal with the reality of these choices. And that’s not a bad thing, but it is an uncomfortable thing. It is a different thing, a thing I’m not used to. I always liked feeling that I had an exit plan. Even though I’m not going anywhere soon, Lord willing, I am still feeling Unmoored.

So here I am in this funk when I hear David Crosby died two weeks ago. I wasn’t a big fan of his, I don’t think I even liked him. I heard he was a difficult kind of character. But I did like CSN and CSN&Y, had most of their albums, and listened often when I was young. I was too young to be a real hippie, but, in the ’70’s, I did appreciate the folk music of the ’60’s. “Teach Your Children” was my graduating class song. I, eventually, became a real Neil Young fan. All my kids know “Four Strong Winds”.

From this great music that I listened to in my youth, a branch broke out which became the Contemporary Christian Music movement. A natural by-product of the Jesus Revolution of the ’60’s and ’70’s. So significant was this movement that even the great Bob Dylan dabbled in it for a time. Many of the artists at that time became Christians.

So while I was down the CSN and David Crosby rabbit hole, I remembered the music I listened to when I was a new Christian. I remembered Barry McGuire. He had been entrenched in the whole ’60’s scene and was famous for his songs “Green, Green” (which I learned in my favorite Sixth Grade class) and “Eve of Destruction”. Although I was faintly familiar with his folk music, it was his music after he became a Christian that impacted my life…even to this day. His “Cosmic Cowboy” album was one of my first Christian music records along with Don Francisco’s “He’s Alive” and John Michael Talbot’s “Come to the Quiet”. This music was so much a part of a happy time of my life. I loved most of the songs on “Cosmic Cowboy”. I remembered particularly “Mystery of Life”. Folky, beautiful and filled with Christian truths that compels one to worship.

So, I switched over to his music and relistened to some of these old favorites of mine. And guess what? While I remembered those fun times as a young Christian adult, I remembered the joy and excitement of having found Christ. Even though I was raised in a Christian household, no one exhibited the joy I found as a young woman. This relationship with Christ has been the living constant of my life for the past 43 years.

Oh, Mystery of Life
I’ve seen Your rivers flowin’
Rollin’ through the windows
Out along the edge of time
Looms of living light
Your solar winds come blowin’
Weavin’ through the patterns
Scattered here within my mind

Behind the brush, the Master Painter
Picks the colors that He uses
Red and gold, green and blue
Colors just for me an’ you
Why, every pattern has a meanin’
That the Pattern Maker chooses
Every line is so revealing
Givin’ us a special clue.

Oh, Mystеry of Life
I’ve seen Your rivers flowin’
Rollin’ through thе windows
Out along the edge of time
Looms of living light
Your solar winds come blowin’
Weavin’ through the patterns
Scattered here within my mind

Everywhere His hand has written
Everywhere I see His name
Through the skies across the mountains
Thunderin’ lightnin’ fallin’ rain
From His hand all life is molded
In His breath a livin’ flame
He lit the stars and gave His Son
Through Him all life has come

Writers: Barry McGuire, Mike Deasy

I listened and listened to these old songs, and I remembered the woman I was in those years, before I was married, before I had kids, before the waves of difficulties swept over me. And I began to hope again, I began to feel that joy again as I remembered Him Who is the same yesterday, today and forever. Like being reintroduced to my First Love.

The point is, is that through difficult times, through unknown times and times of uncertainty when our anchor feels wobbly or untethered, there are devices, there are tools to help us get through.

There are the Scriptures, of course, which always re-anchor us to our foundation. And then there’s our music, the soundtrack of our individual lives, before and after Christ. And those songs that somehow, in that wonderful power of art that taught us about ourselves and revealed ourselves to ourselves, they can renew us during dark times, hopeless times and unsettled times.