Saturday, September 05, 2015

Lost in stars

A few days ago, when I was driving in to work, Sirius XM played a piano version of a Kurt Weill song called "Lost in the Stars." On its own, it is a pretty composition and I envisioned it being more as someone looking up at the stars and being amazed by their abundance and beauty, etc.

Of course, that wasn't Weill's intent. (I guess I should have guessed that). The announcer noted that the piece was from a musical he wrote for - the last one he did, actually, before he died. And the announcer noted that the song questioned God and ultimately the singer wondered if God had forgotten His promise to the people.

And, I don't know. That played in my mind, because of all the stuff going on in the world. All the tears, all the hurting families. And no, I don't think God has forgotten His promise to the people. I can't believe that. I don't believe that.

Though I will say sometimes I wonder if people have become so clouded, and so forgetful of anything that is bigger than their own self and their own wants (And that "bigger thing" does not have to be the Judeo-Christian God, or even any actual deity, I think). People aren't seeing other people as people, I think. They're so bent on their own agendas that they're not asking if this is what they should be doing. And so they get lost, not because God loses them, but because they themselves wander off and get lost. And they can't hear the call to come back....

I know in a much smaller sense, when I get too focused on my own wants and desires, I tend to behave ungraciously towards other people. More often than not, it's because I'm hurting myself. That doesn't excuse it or justify it but I wonder if there's just such a load of hurt that's built up that a lot of people are acting that way, and also, maybe, a lot of people see so much instability in the world that they get the sense of "better watch out for Number One" (where Number One is themselves).

I don't know. I like the initial image of the song - of God going out and seeking the one little star that got lost, and then promising it that it wouldn't get lost again - than the ending one, where we are all lost and alone, wandering stars.

(Also, I didn't realize this until I looked it up, but the musical was based on "Cry, the Beloved Country," and apparently Alan Paton, the author of the original book, was not happy with the cynical tone and had wanted the Christian theme of his novel to come through, and Maxwell Anderson's rewriting for the stage removed much of that. I have not read "Cry the Beloved Country" but I probably should some time. I know there was movie of it about 20 years ago with James Earl Jones playing one of the leading characters.)


Gabriel Conroy said...

For some reason, your post (and the song....thanks for introducing it to me) reminds me of Hesse's JOURNEY TO THE EAST. Have you read it? Its story of someone who was part of a joint effort ("the League") and was led astray/chose to leave reminds me of the lost among the stars notion. The narrator believes that the League has fallen apart, or perhaps that it has abandoned him. When in fact, the League remained intact and it's he who abandoned it. That's my takeaway, at least right now (my interpretations of it have changed over the years).

purlewe said...

Cry, the Beloved Country was one of the first books I read where I learned about apartheid in High School. It really influenced me and my thoughts about the Larger World and how politics and governments work for and against man. I really loved it. And if you read it I would be pleased to read it again (since I haven't in over 25 yrs) I wonder how my feelings about it will have changed.