Perhaps you have read other Stertin pieces that refer to music, such as the June 11, 2012 post “God or Baby – Celine sings for us” or the March 23, 2012 post “Kenny Rogers, Ruyb, and Jesus”. If you haven’t checked them out, I invite you to read them and listen to the linked music.
For this post, I turn to another song; it may be familiar, especially if you are acquainted with Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel music (such as the famous “Bridge Over Troubled Waters.) As is the case with “Bridge Over Troubled Waters, and with the two pieces mentioned in the previous paragraph, the piece for this post also goes beyond its inherent musical beauty. It is a song that includes a great big arrow, points beyond itself to an even bigger reality. The piece to which I refer is Paul Simon’s “Kathy’s Song”, sung by Art Garfunkel with Paul Simon on guitar. To listen, click www.youtube.com/watch?v=9FE6JTtCLK0. Here are the lyrics if you want to read the as you listen.
I hear the drizzle of the rain; like a memory it falls …..Soft and warm continuing, tapping on my roof and walls
And from the shelter of my mind, through the window of my eyes …..I gaze beyond the rainy streets to England where my heart lies.
My mind’s distracted and diffused; my thoughts are many miles away….. They lie with you when you’re asleep, and kiss you when you start your day
And a song I was writing is left undone. I don’t know why I spend my time writing songs I can’t believe, with words that tear and strain to rhyme
And so you see I have come to doubt All that I once held as true. ….. I stand alone without beliefs. The only truth I know is you
And as I watch the drops of rain weave their weary paths and die ….. I know that I am like the rain – There but for the grace of you go I
I don’t need to convince you that what you have just heard is a tremendous love song. It is a song I wish I could have been able to sing to Joyce. But, of course, she would have appreciated Simon and Garfunkel’s musicality much more than mine!! Nonetheless, the “big arrow” in the lyrics comes in the next-to-last verse, reaching the arrow’s tip with, “The only truth I know is you.”
I assume that since Art Garfunkel dedicates this song to his wife, Katharine, “the only truth I know is you” refers to his wife. It may be that Kathy is the one who brings to Art such things as surety, integration, and cohesiveness. Art may see in Katharine such gracious acceptance that if it weren’t for her, Art’s life would be as meaningless and fleeting as the rain drops rolling down the window pane to be lost in a little puddle of water.
It also may be that as much as Art is elevating Kathy to the level of being “the only truth I knows”, he is in his own mind paying her the epitome of compliments. I don’t begrudge what Art is doing; I wish I had the artistic ability to compose such music.
Nonetheless, to keep “the only truth I know is you” from transforming Kathy into an idol, the arrow needs to point even beyond Kathy. Let’s allow Kathy the dignity Art is giving her. Let’s allow them both to rejoice in the experience of graciousness that leads Art to say that “without you, I would be nothing.”
But at the same time, after all is said and done, God the Father, Son, and Spirit is the only One to whom the arrow can categorically point. Once that is recognized, the arrow has accomplished its ultimate purpose. We can then join in the last two verses of “Kathy’s Song” to voice an enduring attitude of repentance and trusting commitment as we “look” at God:
And so you see I have come to doubt all that I once held as true . . . I stand alone without beliefs. The only truth I know is you . . .
And as I watch the drops of rain weave their weary paths and die . . . I know that I am like the rain . There but for the grace of you go I