Every Now and Then Life Says

‘Every now and then life says, where do you think you’re going so fast?’

We’re apt to think it’s cruel but sometimes it’s a case of cruel to be kind.’

 Those are a couple of lines from a Ron Sexsmith song called ‘Gold In Them Hills’.  He’s a Canadian singer songwriter with a voice that is both consoling and encouraging; one that should be on prescription for soothing scalded hearts.  Whatever he sings, there is magic in his voice and when he takes a breath there’s something in the space between his words that whispers: ‘there, there; nothing’s as bad as it seems.’

I was introduced to Ron Sexsmith by a work colleague, D., in Dublin in 2002.  Come to think of it, D. had a beautiful voice too, one that was rinsed in restfulness.  D. was in a band that covered some of Sexsmith’s songs, he was drawn to the lyrics and the sentiments they espoused.  His songs – especially the one I have quoted above – are often gently philosophical, they’re inclusive, and positive without being simplistic.  One morning D. didn’t come into work and by afternoon there was still no sign of him.  D. had died in his sleep, from the same congenital heart problem that took his father before him, also prematurely.  So, when I met K., in 2008, and he told me that Sexsmith was one of his favourite singers from ‘back home’ I was able to say I already knew him, that I already loved the sweet sadness of his music and the lining of hope it contained.  ‘Gold in The Hills’ became our song, the one we would dance to in my tiny Belfast kitchen, and if any problem loomed we would listen to Sexsmith’s message that things are never quite as bad as they first appear.

‘I know it doesn’t seem that way, But maybe it’s the perfect day.’  That’s the opening line from ‘Gold In Them Hills’.  But there are some days when, no matter what angle you come at it from, there is not one scrap or glimmer of hope to be found in it, and to even have it suggested to you makes your bile rise and leaves you wanting roar in guttural anger and disbelief at the glib idea that one can always find a silver lining if one searches hard enough.  For, while we stumble under the layered weight (and what a weight) of problems that COVID-19 has served up for us, others are coping with tragedies beyond those dominating the news; some are trying to grieve and bury a loved one at a time when the natural order of holding and linking arms and being close cannot be done.  So while we search for the silver lining that comes with these unparalleled days (as we should — a slower pace, the arrival of spring, writing and receiving letters), it is worth remembering that some people are carrying burdens besides those cause by the pandemic, people from whom silver linings do not exist.

Back in the day when, in that small kitchen, I danced to Ron Sexsmith I would think of accepting setbacks with a deep breath, a strong glug of common sense, and pinning my eye to the future in the realistic hope that it would all be better sometime soon.  That’s easy when it’s the small stuff, but it’s almost impossible to apply when the worst things happen, when the most mountainous trouble of loss visits us.  For some, there is no golden sparkle about this day, and the words ‘don’t lose heart’ are meaningless when one’s heart is broken.  But someday it will feel better, it always does.

(For P.)

Gold in Them Hills, Ron Sexsmith

I know it doesn’t seem that way
But maybe it’s the perfect day
Even though the bills are piling
And maybe Lady Luck ain’t smiling

But if we’d only open our eyes
We’d see the blessings in disguise
That all the rain clouds are fountains
Though our troubles seem like mountains

There’s gold in them hills
There’s gold in them hills
So don’t lose heart
Give the day a chance to start

Every now and then life says
Where do you think you’re going so fast
We’re apt to think it cruel but sometimes
It’s a case of cruel to be kind

And if we’d get up off our knees
Why then we’d see the forest for the trees
And we’d see the new sun rising
Over the hills on the horizon

There’s gold in them hills
There’s gold in them hills
So don’t lose faith

Give the world a chance to say

A word or two, my friend
There’s no telling how the day might end
And we’ll never know until we see

That there’s gold in them hills

There’s gold in them hills
So don’t lose heart
Give the day a chance to start

One thought on “Every Now and Then Life Says

  1. Thank you so much for sharing that. I just listened to it and it couldn’t be a more perfect song for what we’re all feeling. I sent it to my husband so he can have a listen too.

    Take care of yourself and don’t lose heart. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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