Sunday, 19 April 2020

Held like Bernadette would do


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Messy clues to play with
There was a line of a verse from lyrics of a song performed by Bette Midler, the words of which were a mondegreen from a body of song I could not match to anything. I typed in what I had in memory in the hope of finding what I needed without success.
Eventually, some clarity came, still missing some words but it was enough to find what I was looking for, and to my surprise, it wasn’t the song I was expecting. The lyrics however, were very relatable to an experience I had when I was 10 that still makes my hairs stand on end when I remember.
The Song of Bernadette was written by Jennifer Warnes, Leonard Cohen and Bill Elliott about Bernadette Soubirous the girl who saw visions of the Virgin Mary that led to the creation of the shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes.
Enshrined in minstrel calm
When it was revealed no one believed her, yet, there were people who through the experience got miracles from the wellspring the sprung from the revelations she received. I did visit a Marian shrine once when I was in Lisbon, Our Lady of Fatima, my experience there was profound and revelatory. I brought me back to the desire for solemnity, silence, reverence and meditation in worship, well away from the ululating cacophony of environments I sought refuge in.
For what I saw and heard, no one believed me, but it changed me from the day that it happened. I did not see a vision like Bernadette’s for it had no comfort, but terror. I found solace in Psalms and prayers prayed long and hard for a peace that seemed to desert me when I needed it most. Sometimes, it is the minstrel ministry of classical music, gospel worship music or the music of ladies like Anita Baker, Aretha Franklin, Bette Midler, Billie Holliday, or Dionne Warwick that brings a calming influence.
A heart mended in an embrace
From the Song of Bernadette, the lines from the lyrics that were churning in my mind were; “So many hearts I find, broke like yours and mine, torn by what we've done and can't undo. I just wanna hold you. Come on, let me hold you, like Bernadette would do.” [STLyrics]
There is more in the song that talks about human frailties and the way we seek to make amends for things that may have gone wrong. In all that, we find some hope in life and maybe the embrace of someone who has a vision of the miraculous for us. One night in December not so long ago, I fell into the embrace of a miracle, not Bernadette, but Brian and even if my head had not figured it out then, I felt a coolness, calmness, serenity descend on me like my blood pressure came down a good few points.
With it came the end of grief, the mending of the broken heart that did not seem to mend for almost a decade. Though we are apart, our hearts are knit in a relationship I look to last a lifetime for I have been blessed by providence where I could never have expected to find it.

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