Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Surprised by Alfie...

It's funny how your mind works, isn't  it? You can have yourself going in a certain direction,getting on with your agenda for the day, and what seems like "out of the blue" something pops in your head, and wham-o--you're changing course.
That happened to me a while ago. I was just getting into the day's activities and a  song from way, way back entered my mind and I couldn't let go of it...For you old-timers, maybe you remember a song from the 60's or maybe 70's called Alfie. It was the title song  of a movie starring Michael Caine as Alfie. It was big the summer that I was working as a waitress at a hotel on the coast of Maine. I didn't understand much back then about how deep those lyrics could embed themselves in the recesses of my brain. But, they wriggled their way out of the crevasse this morning! The first line of the song just popped into my head and I had to follow it along (the thought that is) to see where it was taking me. . .
What's it all about, Alfie?
Is it just for the moment we live?
What's it all about when you sort it out, Alfie?

I've been juggling that very thing myself the past month or so, wondering what is it all about? You spend a good part of the beginning of your adult life working on figuring out who you'll spend it with, what your job will be (career, motherhood, or both), what you believe about life, and walking, running, sometimes crawling through it. Along the way, you make and lose friends, you move to other locations, your family changes because new little ones enter and consume you, and your heart learns to embrace, to fill up, to empty out, to get scarred, and to break, only to start the cycle all over again. And somewhere along the way you learn and begin to know that with Help, you and your heart have grown strong. To see and experience the Truth  that when we are weak, then we are strong...and to walk that very hard and arduous path. . . one step at a time.

The next lines of the song are this:

Are we meant to take more than we give
or are we meant to be kind?
And if only fools are kind, Alfie,
then I guess it's wise to be cruel.
And if life belongs only to the strong, Alfie,
what will you lend on an old golden rule?

Ah-h. the Golden Rule. One of the first things I ever remember from my childhood days of Sunday School. "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Instilled into my being from a very young age, and, though I've often failed, I have tried to live up to that command uttered by the Lord. What my Sunday School teachers failed to teach me back then was that I couldn't live up to that command! It was impossible in my own strength. It took years of living and many hard and hurtful experiences to come to that understanding. I am weak. But with Him, I am strong. When I've felt the sting of hurtful words, or the ache of a soul I love going through the pain of life's realities, I hurt, too....badly. I need something to soothe the pain, too. Where do I find it? It took a long time to find the answer to the hurts that life inflicts. However, it's not a what thats the answer, it's a Who. The balm is found in the everlasting Palm of the Healer, Who through His love and His strength pours it out on the wounded heart. Not just so we can no longer feel the pain, but so that we can be healed from it, to see its purpose, that we can remember how it felt to have it and to be healed from it, and now to move on in our lives so that we can show compassion for that one who now sorely needs that same touch from the healing balm. 
The song concludes:

As sure as I believe there's a heaven above, Alfie,
I know there's something much more,
something even non-believers can believe in.
I believe in love, Alfie.
Without true love we just exist, Alfie.
Until you find the love you've missed you're nothing, Alfie.
When you walk let your heart lead the way
and you'll find love any day, Alfie, Alfie.

In my opinion, the songwriter missed one important beat in his conclusion. That heart that you let lead the way...needs to  be a changed heart. A heart that has submitted to , belongs to, and is lovingly held by,  the Master Healer. The Love you find "Alfie" is only true and lasting when it's now become His. 
Well. That was an unexpected reminder to myself today. Isn't it interesting where your mind will take you when you least expect it?