..you let me know everything’s all right

There are a few strange mornings where I’ll hear some horribly random, distinctly amelodic pass-code style loop rattling through my consciousness, but this wasn’t one of them. I got lucky, in succession: BJ Thomas’ “Hooked on a Feeling,” and then Handel’s “For Unto Us a Child is Born.”

The picture of a young man taking such soaring solace in the arms of his girl, her lips tasting like candy, the comfort of her embrace making “everything all right,” well it kinda did for me at 59 what it once did for me at 9, the year Wiki tells me this song reached number 5.  I don’t think the fundamental truths change: men have to work harder for that embrace. You women could be embraced by us, more or less all you want, whenever you want, so you might not quite feel the electricity the way we do.  My guess, too, is that most women feel, justifiably cynical about what a woman ‘s embrace means to a man.  We’ve seen the look and heard the words: “right, I know what you want.”

But ponder the young crooner, confessing–honestly I think–that the worries of the world disappear when a woman holds him, and tells him “everything will be all right.”

Ever been there?  I have.  It’s real. If one good friend can console you — imagine what your woman can do for you.  War and fear and debt disappear for a minute in the press of your sweetheart’s blouse.

There’s a part of me, too, that misses the nine year old longing for that moment, a kind of sadness that some rituals of romance and courting can never be quite that new again.  So I brushed past that and made myself nine again.  I sang it out loud, and I praised God for Eve and her daughters, and the Almighty’s kindness in just letting us sit ringside at His creation, taking in all the pretty girls at the carnival.

And then Handel’s Messiah started playing for me, out there in the clouds, and I could hear the words “For unto us a child is born.”  His name shall be called wonderful!  Counselor!  The Mighty God!  The everlasting Father!  The Prince of Peace!

From time to time, I’m tempted to indulge a theology that would not stand up among my learned church friends.  It goes something like this: if a man has ever really felt enormous gratitude, if he has ever really laughed with his friends, if he has ever really had a sweetheart, he is saved.  It’s difficult for me to see even the worst moments of a life not covered over, and forgotten somehow, by even one second of real joy.

Maybe that’s because the infinite perfection, and love of God, covers our horrible, but finite sins. A drop of it will do. A good friend told me she likes the way I write when I’m happy, even if she understands my anger with the world, and I told her what I’ve confessed here before: if you’ve ever really loved someone, or felt loved by someone, you will knock down the gates of hell to protect them, and the joy they represent.  It’s good stuff.  It’s worth fighting for.

Now go outside and sing.