Today’s Word from Pastor Jim…
There is no shortage of sad stories, two Kleenex boxes have permanent residence in my office, urns and cremains surround me waiting silently for their slow procession to the columbarium. Every human journey is marked by illness and accident, death in season and out, love lost and bitter betrayal. There is no escape, our ability to elude the human condition is nothing more than an illusion, an illusion which ultimately gives way to reality, as the frail nature of our bodies, our minds and our relationships begin to decay. I have made peace with it, mostly, there is a time to be born and a time to die. The diminishing sands of the hourglass are humbling but they hold no particular horror for me.
But I am overtaken by a profound sadness when our loss or loneliness is a by-product of our egos, unforced errors, a brokenness unrelated to our shared fragility. In January 1974, guitarist Don Felder was asked to join a country rock band called the Eagles. The Eagles would become superstars with classic hits like “Hotel California,” “I Can’t Tell You Why,” “Tequila Sunrise,” “Take it Easy,” and many more. Don Felder was a rock star, the Eagles sold millions of records and each member of the band made millions of dollars. For 27 years Don Felder would be associated with the Eagles, touring the world, and recording and then in 2001 it all fell apart. Felder and Eagles founders Glenn Frey and Don Henley would spend several years in court arguing about money. The case would be settled out of court, but soon new lawsuits were filed. There would be no more harmony for the men whose beautiful harmonies helped define the music of the 1970’s.
In January 2016, Glenn Frey would die of natural causes at the age of 68. The day after Frey’s death, Felder told the Associated Press that he felt an “unbelievable sorrow. I had always hoped somewhere along the line, he and I would have dinner together, talking about old times and letting it go with a handshake and a hug.” Perhaps, a phone call or a letter or an olive branch of any kind would have made that dinner, that handshake and that hug a reality, if either man had swallowed their pride, perhaps they could have let it go. But once that final breath is taken, it is too late.
The words of one of the Eagles hits came to mind:
“Desperado, why don’t you come to your senses?
Come down from your fences, open the gate
It may be rainin’, but there’s a rainbow above you
You better let somebody love you (Let somebody love you)
You better let somebody love you before it’s too late.”
There is no shortage of sad stories, many of them are an unavoidable part of living. But I find these words to be hauntingly tragic, “I had always hoped somewhere along the line, he and I would have dinner together, talking about old times and letting it go with a handshake and a hug.”
Maybe we can learn from the sad words of an aging rock star, just maybe these words can help us to change our story, to carry less burdens, to let go of bitterness and to die without the regrets of missed reconciliation.
That is enough for this Saturday.
One beggar telling another beggar where to find bread, I am your