“So needless to say I’m odds and ends
But that’s me, stumbling away
Slowly learning that life is O.K.
Say after me
It’s no better to be safe than sorry.” A-ha — “Take On Me”
I keep up with a few blogs in addition to my own.
Each one on my short list is a unique expression of its keeper, but our shared passion is a love of the written word. At one time or another, each of the blogs I follow have inspired my own words, as I believe mine, at times, has inspired theirs.
My friend Linda’s latest post at The Task At Hand inspired me today to select a Lenten anthem to listen to daily for the sheer joy it will bring me. I chose an eighties pop song released by the Norwegian band A-ha, a song that holds special meaning in my life.
My favorite line in the song — “Say after me… It’s no better to be safe than sorry” — are words I must take to heart. And in fact, a few times in my life, I’ve given up safe to avoid being sorry. One time occurred just as this song was flying high on the music charts in late 1985, when I was slowly teetering off the edge of my own safe world to the riskier world of what has become the loving home of my second marriage.
I hear the song’s opening beats and I feel better instantly. It wipes away clouds and shines me with hope. And my hope during Lent is that by keeping daily company with this song, I will be empowered to become who I wish to be and what I wish my writing to become. Like an apple a day that keeps the doctor away, I pray that my Lenten Anthem will become good spiritual medicine in supplanting negative voices of doubt with positive messages of ‘can-do”.
The original music video, featured above, won six awards at the 1986 MTV Video Music Awards. The story it tells holds a powerful Lenten message, as it depicts a cartoon fighting to become real. And becoming real, becoming our true selves before God, is what Lent is all about. We give up something say — or we take on some practice. But all the giving up and taking on is done in order to know who we are and who we are not — and importantly, to know whose we are and are not — and to discover our current weight on the scale of Reality. As one of my favorite authors, Frederick Buechner, writes,
“During Lent, Christians are supposed to ask one way or another what it means to be themselves.”
Lent invites us to put down all of our props and take off — or in some cases, pry off — all of our masks so that we once again become true to our own reality, so that we can breathe free again, so that without constraints, nothing gets in the way between us and a God called Reality, to borrow that God-word used so often by Evelyn Underhill.
Rather than give up something this Lenten season I choose to Take On Me.