I have long known the joy of discovering something that touches deeply, that excites, that brings a smile. As a boy there was the joy of discovering a favorite player in a package of baseball cards. Along the way there have been the joys of discovering a long-sought book in a used book store, an idea that helped articulate something I was feeling or thinking but had not found adequate words for, an idea that opens the world up in new ways, a poem that penetrated to the depth of my soul, a song which moved me.
I am not sure what led me to want to find out more about The Replacements, a 1980s band founded in Minneapolis. It think it was a thread of reading which led me to read about this band and think to myself, “I would like to give them a listen.” In the ‘80s the Replacements blend of punk guitar and pop melodies garnered them critical acclaim but little commercial success (The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock and Roll). I am experiencing some joy of discovery.
One song that has captured my attention is “Sadly Beautiful.” The song has little punk to it. The title describes the song – sadly beautiful. The idea in the title and song describes so much in life, and life itself - - - life will end in death for us all and yet it contains so much that is beautiful.
To live a more fully human life, we need to see life’s sadness and beauty. To miss one or the other regularly is to have a distorted view of life. There is much that leaves one sad – hungry children, war-torn countries, dysfunctional relationships that harm, small disappointments and hurts. I take these seriously. They cry for compassionate response. Yet when I spend too much time and give too much attention to those things that leave me sad, I am in danger of missing the wonder and beauty in life – a blazing sunset, a full moon rising over a lake, the tenderness in so many relationships, small kindnesses and acts of generosity, work large and small for a better world.
And the joyfully discovered idea, poem, song is often helpful in keeping perspective.
With Faith and With Feathers,