Amos Lee Freedom

A Story In Song (Part 4—Amos Lee)

 

I have a story in my book Pieces Like Pottery—”The Gravesite: The Fifth Sorrowful Mystery”—in which I experimented with a number of different literary devices. More and more readers have begun to notice one of the devices more regularly. 

In addition to breaking the story up into ten sections, each of which follows one of the themes from the fifth sorrowful mystery, each section in the story also has a song that is paired with it. Yes, you read that right. I paired a song with each section. Like a fine wine paired with a good meal, the song’s lyrics are intended not only to add another layer of meaning to the words, but can also be listened along with that section of the story.

While more and more readers have been picking up on this, it’s certainly not an easy task for the casual reader, especially not one reading the print version of the book. I’ve promised to do this for quite awhile, so here you go. In ten parts, here is “The Gravesite: The Fifth Sorrowful Mystery” paired with each song. Enjoy!

(For those of you that might be interested in how this section ties into the fifth sorrowful mystery, the fifth sorrowful mystery is The Crucifixion and the “spiritual fruit” is the Pardoning of Injuries. Part 4 reflects the theme of the prayer, “Father, by the merits of the crucifixion and death of Jesus, have mercy on us and on the whole world.”)

If you missed Part 1,  Part 2, or Part 3. go start from the beginning! Enjoy!

 

The Gravesite 

The Fifth Sorrowful Mystery

Part 4

 


 

 

 

Mike reached out for Lisa’s hand. She reciprocated, and they squeezed each other tightly. As they stood staring at the gravestone, Lisa could sense how alone Mike felt. The sun was shining brightly, but it felt like it only poured a cold heat about them. Lisa’s eyes welled up again. Her tears never seemed to fade in the last year. There was a permanent quality to her sorrow that failed to grow weary.

The tears filled up to the point where Lisa’s eyes could no longer contain them anymore, and began to run down her cheek one by one.

“He was such a good boy,” Mike sighed.

“Such a good man,” Lisa corrected through wet eyes.

Her little Chris had ventured out into the world on his own. He had wanted to see the world and save everyone in it. Such a silly idea from a young boy, but as she looked at his grave, Lisa couldn’t help but think that he was more a man than she ever had given him credit for. She didn’t know if she now viewed his idealism as a profound truth that she should be trying to practice in her own life, or if she just wanted it to be so because he was no longer by her side.

“Such a good man,” Mike mirrored with an air of satisfaction.

A week after Chris took that flight to Thailand, he called his parents at home. He raved about the first week of the trip. He had already met so many interesting people. As his mother worried about him being all alone, Chris couldn’t stop expressing how excited he was to be out on his own. Things felt right. His father told him he was proud of his son, such independence and adventure in his heart. Then Chris cut the call short to head out with an acquaintance he’d just met for a hike into the jungle to see a waterfall. He was in Ko Pha Ngan. That was the last time they spoke to their son.

Authorities were unable to find his body. They said he must have slipped off a cliff ledge and fell into the river below. They suspected he’d died before he’d hit the water, bouncing off the jagged cliff walls that jutted out awkwardly. He was with another American boy who was on a post-high school tour around the world. Chris met him at the hotel bar the night before and introduced the boy to his favorite drink—an Arnold Palmer. The other boy was about fifty yards ahead when Chris fell, and he only heard a short yell before there was silence. Authorities questioned the boy with fervor, suspecting foul play, but the motive was never there, and they eventually let the devastated young man leave the country.

When Mike and Lisa received the call, Mike crumbled in a heap on the ground. Lisa could see the news in his eyes. She began screaming at the air for answers and details. Few would come, but not for lack of trying. They both flew to Thailand and spent a week searching for more information, but to no avail. They even flew to Spain where they met up with the young American boy, who only brought them condolences and more sadness—but nothing by way of answers.

As was her habit, Lisa continued to check on Chris’ blog. She had an unfounded hope that Chris might still be alive and missing, but mostly she checked back out of habit and disbelief. He was here just a week ago, she thought.

A day after Mike and Lisa landed back in the states, Lisa found herself stunned sitting in front of her computer. A brand new post was staring back at her. Fresh words glowed on her computer display. Could it be? New words from her son? There it was, calling out for her.

 

“Freedom is seldom found by beating someone to the ground, telling them how everything is gonna be now.”

June 2nd

I can’t quite describe the frustration I encounter when faced with evangelical religious-types. I find their position on the way the world works considerably obtuse. The other day I was approached by a middle aged Brit spending time “saving the world” in Thailand. He wore a fake smile on his face and patronized me by calling me brother when he approached.

“How are you today, brother. Have you accepted Jesus into your heart?”

It was clear that there was tremendous pain behind his eyes. Pain he was hiding and running from. The smile couldn’t hide the pain. And he called me brother… I wouldn’t be bothered by this mangled toothed gentleman’s reference to me as his brother, if it felt real. I can accept, or at least respect, the thought that we’re all experiencing the same joys and pains in this life, and we are all interconnected on this crazy journey, but the “brother” just seemed forced. Oddly, the O’Jays rang in my head as I smiled back at him—How can you call me brother when you ain’t even searching for the truth? What he meant to say, in my estimation, was, “Hello there. Do you believe the same thing as I? If you do, we are brothers. If you don’t, then I cannot accept you as my brother, other than insofar as you may some day change to be more like me and then we can be brothers.” It’s laughable to me.

Despite my better judgment, I entertained this man’s approach on this particular day. As we talked more, he began to speak quite horribly about homosexuality, adulterers and an entire slate of things. At one point, I became so embarrassed by what he was saying that I began looking over my shoulder for fear of being directly associated with this man. I asked him why he was convinced homosexuality was a sin, to which he provided oft quoted and incorrectly cited passages of scripture clearly taken out of context. Despite “judge lest you be judge” and “let he without sin throw the first stone,” this man and so many like him seemed to hide behind the farce that they are not the ones judging, God is. They are simply the messengers of God’s judgment. And so we hate, fight, spit, spew bigotry, murder, torture…all in the name of something good and holy. Every religion. Every era. I don’t see an end in sight.

It’s not the idea that he believes a man died for him and all of humanity over 2,000 years ago, and he finds peace and solace in this. I have no issue with that. Religion and faith are full of abnormalities and paradoxes. Faith is to be respected, maybe the most respected. It’s the idea, though, that I need to conform to see the world the way he sees it in order to really live life. I can’t wrap my head around how small-minded this is. It’s the idea that he needs to convince me to “convert” to his way of life, and causing pain and suffering is acceptable for this end. He needs to beat it into me. I prefer to believe in a world that is much bigger than one size fits all. I simply can’t see how violence and death in an effort to push the agenda of any particular religion, is the answer. There’s no truth in that. If there is a God, if there are merits of this man’s crucifixion, may the world realize this and by some mercy, let us stop fighting.

 

Lisa stared blankly. The harsh white light from the internet page glared on her face. There’s a new post, she thought, confused with hope. She sat not comprehending a single word she had just read. Then, without notice, the tears poured out. She began to sob uncontrollably. She reached out and touched the screen. She reached out in agony, in attempt to touch her son before her. She felt the warm buzzing screen, the warmth of the display.

 

 

Check out Part 5 of “The Gravesite.”

 

Freedom (Lyrics)

Amos Lee

Don’t wanna be a martyr in this war
Don’t wanna hear the same excuses anymore
That everything’s a threat
And it’s only gonna get worse if we let it

Don’t wanna blame the rich for what they got
Don’t point a finger at the poor for what they have not
Though the politician and the priest
Live in the belly of the beast because we fed it

Freedom is seldom found
By beating someone to the ground
Telling them how everything is gonna be now, yeah

Now if the tables were turned tell me how you would feel
Somebody busted up into your house telling you to stay still
While the leaders will deny defeat
Innocents they testify by dying in the street

Freedom is seldom found
By beating someone to the ground
Telling them how everything is gonna be now

Freedom is seldom found
By beating someone to the ground
Telling them how everything is gonna be now

 

Find more writing and publishing tips at Nothing Any Good.

 

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