Learning from Passenger this Lent (thanks girls)

One of the many benefits of having teenage daughters (probably true for sons as well – I wouldn’t know) is that they occasionally – very occasionally mind –  introduce you to a cracking piece of contemporary music.

This puts us old f…s in a difficult position, after all the music in our generation really was vastly superior, wasn’t it?

So, here is my strategy for listening to ‘their’ music, whilst preserving ‘my’ integrity:

Let them listen to it in the car, in fact go further ,invite them to bring a selection of their music for the journey, but don’t rush to put it on, start the journey listening to radio 4 (or 2, of Classic F.M) – make them crack first! They will think you are being kind, whilst you can rely on a teenagers inability to tidy up after themselves, as they leave their debris in your car.

You can then listen to their music as often as you like.

Here is the really cool bit: When they next get into the car and turn on the CD player, which is still playing their music, and they look at you and say something like, ‘I can’t believe you are still listening to this,’ you can assume the ‘I’m far more sophisticated than you’ pose and say, ‘I haven’t been listening to your music, it’s so frivolous, I listen to Radio 4 you know.’

But enough of this drivel.

I really like the singer-songwriter Passenger, and I think he has something for us to reflect on this Lent. One of his songs is called The Wrong Direction and contains the following lyrics:

With regret I’m willing to bet and say the older you get

It gets harder to forgive and harder to forget

It gets under your skin like a dagger at work

The first cut is the deepest but the rest still flippin hurt

You build your heart of plastic and become cynical and sarcastic 

And end up in a corner on your own

Passenger is right, the consequence of looking in the wrong direction is all of the above: an inability to forgive, the creation of a false heart, a loss of hope, a sense of isolation. He goes on to observe that in this state all we can do is ‘hide behind my jokes as a form of protection.’

 In other words when spend our lives looking in the wrong direction, in order to preserve a sense of self (even if we know it to be a false self) our only strategy is the creation of an inauthentic personna.

Lent invites us to do something different; ‘to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.’

If we spend Lent looking in the right direction who knows we might even rediscover our true selves? A self which strives to forgive, to let go of past hurts, to acknowledge our fragility and, to receive healing. And, that can’t be bad!


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