Monthly Archives: April 2013

On David Gray and weeping

Yesterday morning in Austin, Texas, the rain came down hard. Big, fat drops fell in torrents from a dark gray sky, collecting into little streams that ran swiftly against the curbs and creating puddles that rose up to drench each passing car. There was no thunder, no lightning – just a hard, steady outpouring of water that soaked into the earth, and the earth drank it up eagerly and gratefully.

It felt right, and not just because we desperately need rain in this drought-stricken land that has been so parched for so long. It felt right because it mirrored the way I felt inside. I woke up yesterday morning to the headlines about the terrible explosion in West, Texas. Still raw from the news of the bombings at the Boston Marathon three days before, this new tragedy a mere two days later was like grasping the knife and plunging it in yet again, a little deeper still.

I spent at least half of the morning in the car, as I do every weekday. Driving my children to and from school and running errands has become my morning liturgy. I usually enjoy the company of NPR news while I drive, but yesterday morning I turned it off. I couldn’t listen anymore; the death and destruction and pain were too much to bear.

Instead, I plugged in my phone and pulled up some music. My fingers scrolled through the list at a red light, and stopped at David Gray, the British singer-songwriter. I hit “play” and set my phone down, and suddenly his voice filled my ears and swelled up, full and tender:

“Gonna close my eyes, girl, and watch you go,
Running through this life, darling, like a field of snow.
As the tracer glides in its graceful arc,
Send a little prayer out to ya, ‘cross the falling dark.
Tell the repo man and the stars above
That you’re the one I love…”

And just like that, a minivan became a sanctuary. With the rain pounding on the roof above and the other cars throwing waves of muddy water on my windshield as they passed by, I pulled over to the shoulder and I wept and cried out to God.

I wept for the people of Boston, and the three that died: Martin Richard, Krystle Campbell, and Lu Lingzi, and all their families and friends, and the runners that continued running all the way to the hospital to donate blood.

“Perfect summer’s night – not a wind that breathes,
Just the bullets whispering gentle,
‘mongst the new green leaves.
There’s things I might have said, only wish I could,
Now I’m leaking life faster than I’m leaking blood.
Tell the repo man and the stars above
That you’re the one I love”

I wept for the people of West, Texas, and the missing firefighters, and the elderly who were evacuated from their nursing home, and the people who lost their husbands and wives and children, and a town overwhelmed with destruction.

I wept for the children and families of Newtown, Connecticut, and the Senate’s failure to pass any new gun control measures on Wednesday. I wept for the murder trial of Kermit Gosnell and the women and all the nameless babies who died at his hands, and the darkness and evil that reside in the hearts of men and women everywhere.

“Don’t see Elysium, don’t see no fiery hell
Just the lights up bright, baby, in the bay hotel
Next wave coming in like an ocean roar
Won’t you take my hand, darling, on that old dancefloor
We can twist and shout, do the turtle dove
And you’re the one I love”

And the sky wept with me; the clouds groaned and wailed and poured themselves out in agony and despair.

There is a time to weep. There is a time to mourn. I weep with and for those who weep today. May God have mercy on us all.