New Years Eve 2014 (Don’t Dream it’s Over)

2014 Dusking

It’s New Years Eve 2014, a day devoted to tomorrow.

It feels like I’ve been writing this post for days now, if not weeks and months. Since this is my final posting, I suppose it’s been in the works all year long. I remember all too well the end of 2013, facing major changes and staring into the face of the unknown.

Welcome to the future. No hover cars or robot servants, and nothing else seems to be any different either.

After losing at least a week out of life to that horrible cold/flu bug sweeping the nation, the cold and cloudy grey weather and my aching body have finally given way to light and a semblance of life. The sky was a blue we haven’t seen in ages, with thin clouds rolling in like ocean waves. It’s colder, yes, but the sun is a welcome visitor even for one last day.

I’ll join the rest of humanity and wonder where the year went. Highs and lows, many trials and a few triumphs…sadly this year the scale tipped far too often in the wrong direction.

While everyone is recounting the past and pointing hopefully to the future, I’ll allow myself no such luxury. For me there is only now.

If you are fortunate enough to have had a great year, then I’ll say congrats. As for the rest of us, all we can do is hope for better…but if I’ve learned anything from 2014, hope is a dangerous word.

For the first time in years and years, I don’t have a damn clue what is in store for the coming year. As a believer, this is a very strange place to be indeed. I’ve searched Scripture for plans and promises, I’ve hurled prayers toward the heavens, and cried many tears of the hopefully hopeless. I’ve given in and given up. I’ve trusted time and time again, only to see hopes and dreams shatter into shards that have cut my spirit to the bone.

I just don’t know what else to do but wait in the now.

It’s been said that sometimes we can fail and fall so far that even the plans of God are nullified, or at least changed beyond recognition. I have fought this notion with every fiber of my being, but still the year comes to a close. Nothing has changed…

Maybe God gives the visions to those young and strong enough to make them happen, leaving the dreaming of past glory to the old. Maybe that’s all the old can do…dream the dreams that give vision to the young.

And off there in the distance
The morning fire still glows
The promise of a dream that may still grow
And beyond this days horizon
Past the final pathway turn
The day has found its ending
Where Hope fights the darkness as it burns

Father, thank You for the gift of this moment. Be with us in every ‘now’ of the coming days…

Now I will wait for the new year and a new day. I have seen this days dawning, and now it’s dusking.

Today becomes tomorrow…
And still I wait, and dream that it’s not over.

“Rachel’s Grief: December”

This bit of dark verse from a few months ago seemed to fit this December day, in memory of the innocents lost in the days after the birth of Christ.

This day is done, the years grow long
No words remain in verse or song
The hope of mercy and grace revealed
Is lost in pain of wounds unhealed
In the distance a hollow wail
Rachel’s grief for a dream that failed
How long until the promising
How long until the day
When despair is a mere memory
And tears are wiped away?

“Happy Place” credit roll

This past Friday saw the sneak peak of a new song co-created by Rebekah Gilbert and myself called “Happy Place.” It’s actually one of five new songs produced a few months back, and I’m really proud of not only this song, but the great initial feedback from all the folks hearing it. Keep it up, and please feel free to share and share again on your social media platform of choice.

Like every recording project, it certainly takes some help bringing this music to you. I grew up in the age of vinyl records and cardboard sleeves. And liner notes! I loved to sit by my turntable watching the record ‘go right round’ and reading lyrics and credits for hours on end. It was intriguing to me to see who played what, where the project was recorded, and who the folks were that shaped the sounds into music that moved me.

It’s cool to see the return of vinyl, but sadly for digital downloads and streaming media there are no credits to pour over, and no lyrics to follow.

So if for no other person than myself, here are the ‘digital liner notes’ for “Happy Place!” Enjoy!

P.S. Be sure to hang around after the credits for links to the song!

Thanks again for listening!

GV

“Happy Place”

Verse One
I always walked the narrow line
Didn’t have the courage to be one of a kind
Blended in with the stiff-necked crowd
Til my righteous deeds made me too damn proud

Chorus
Going to my happy place
Gonna live like there’s no mistakes
Ditchin’ the diff’rence between right and wrong
Gonna go where I can sing my songs

Verse Two
I stumbled from the good-girl cliff
Torn and tattered from the shameful trip
Climbed my way out of that big, black hole
Nothin’ left but my tainted soul

Chorus
Going to my happy place
Gonna live like there’s no mistakes
Ditchin’ the diff’rence between right and wrong
Gonna go where I can sing my songs

Bridge
I had no choice
I found my voice
When I gave myself a chance
I fin’lly feel
I can fin’lly be real
I’m ready to wander a wider path

Verse Three
Leavin’ the lonely heartache behind
Changin’ my steps to see what I’ll find
Searchin’ for rhythms and rhymes of my own
Doubt I’ll ever make my way back home

Chorus
Going to my happy place
Gonna live like there’s no mistakes
Ditchin’ the diff’rence between right and wrong
Gonna go where I can sing my songs

“Happy Place”
Written and produced by Rebekah Gilbert & George Vinson (c)(p)2014
Recorded, mixed, and mastered by Eric Bates, Bates Brothers Recording, Hueytown AL
Keyboards and programming by Charles Harnach
Vocals by Rebekah Gilbert
Guitars and other assorted noises by George Vinson

 

When the Last Teardrop Falls

Sunday Fall

The early morning fog that wrapped the world in grey has long since rolled out or burned away. The near midday sun illumines this day with a squinty brightness, and a lone cloud floats above the few families enjoying the park before the madness of post-church Sunday afternoon. Normally I would have spent this morning in a house of worship, employing my guitar for the weekly rites. But unneeded today, I slept late and have now made my way to the one spot where collecting and writing my thoughts comes easiest.

That mapping the cosmology of the heart should be called easy is a misnomer. Probably the most difficult task I semi-regularly attempt is the unshrouding of myself. For all my efforts at real transparency, I am shut tighter than a vampire’s coffin at dawn. If one bit of light entered in, maybe my heart would turn to dust.

Veiled thoughts. Shrouded emotions. Hearts safely behind high and thick walls. Each metaphor grows both in the strength to protect, as well as to pull down. Surely life was never intended to be lived in this fashion? My heart tells me no, but seeks refuge nonetheless.

The park has grown quiet…most likely the calm before the afternoon swarm. A lone runner makes her way around the perimeter trail, the bright neon yellow of her attire visible at this distance even to these aging eyes. My lone cloud friend is breaking apart in the wind of the upper air. In the shade of my favorite tree (and who doesn’t have one?) I can see clearly the changing colors of fall, my favorite season.

It’s probably fitting that today has no music. It’s all too easy to lose myself in notes and tones, textures and rhythms. Music makes my heart sing where my voice cannot. But on this seventh day I’ll rest from rhyme and song, and wrestle with words in their stead. I’ve often said that there’s music to be found everywhere, even in prose.

The cloud has gone now…the neon runner run past to a solitary track…the moment of stillness lost, as the park begins to fill with the revelers of this bright day.

Still my heart is no less shrouded. Do I pray for Holy Spirit to rend the veil of my heart? Where are those who will march around my walls with music and shouting, awaiting the fall?

There is no end to the questions my heart would ask. But fall reminds me of the fleeting days with every leaf that falls around me. The time for questions will be over, and I will revel in the long answer of eternity when the last teardrop falls.

 

Magic

I was taught that every story has a beginning, middle, and an ending. From an early age our stories end with “happily ever after.” At the head of the tale, this is the only ‘tail’ that will do. It’s certainly what we all hope.

But life spins a different story for each of us. Whether easy or hard, every life has moments of magic. The big ones are easy to spot. The tragedy is missing the magic in the everyday.

Sometimes it’s easy to miss any of these moments. Especially when the story is framed by dark words and darker deeds. We look for an Enemy without…but the true enemy is within.

No one starts as the antagonist, and the journey into villainy is a story in itself. My crime is believing words spoken about me even before entering my own story.

Cripple,’ she said. God’s punishment for sin and shame. Doctors repaired the deformities but they couldn’t remove the scars.

Don’t tell anyone,‘ she said. Even now I cannot tell.

You’ll never be good,’ he intoned. By this time in the story I was learning to use the rage. I would be good in spite of jealous prophesy. But never quite good enough.

Then the day comes when pride turns fall. Mighty are the fallen…

Like the loneliness of early days in hospitals, overwhelming waves of abandonment come flooding back. But you are the betrayer. Your body is whole but your spirit is crippled.

You are alone even when never alone.

The words cling to your hoping heart. Descriptors of your fall haunt through the decades.

You come to the last act of the story. The arc is not complete, but the incline is steepening toward the end. Mistakes are made and lessons learned and unlearned, a student of life even still.

And the words remain as surely as the scars upon your flesh.

“Rich man, poor man. Beggarman, thief. Liar, betrayer, sinner chief.”

At least I can see the magic…and remember how the tale could have ended.