“Shine On (You Crazy Diamond)”

You can tell by my post titles of late that I am indeed a fan of the band Pink Floyd. No, that doesn’t automatically make me a drug addict. Heck, I’ve never done drugs or smoked or been drunk…ever! Yes…I really am a musician!

I won’t, but could wax poetic about PF for hours and days. Tell me I play anything remotely like guitarist David Gilmour and I’m walking on top of the wall. Suggest my lyrics have an echo of Roger Waters and you’ll see me on the dark side of the moon.

If you don’t know the sad story of original member and founder, Syd Barrett, you need to ‘search it up’ as my daughter would say. Syd’s meteoric rise and terrible fall into madness informed the band and their music throughout their incredible career.

“Shine On…” was the main track of the album “Wish You Were Here,” the follow up to “Dark Side of the Moon” (arguably their two best records). And this song was directly inspired by Syd and his story.

Syd had retreated years earlier into seclusion after leaving the band. One day during the mixing of “Shine On…” Dave Gilmour noticed an older bald guy hanging out in the control room. He thought it was a studio tech…but there was something strangely familiar about this guy.

The track played over and over, as will happen during the mixing process. Finally the band realized who this weird guy was…

It was Syd.

He’d heard his old group was recording so he just showed up at Abbey Road Studios to offer his services. Not even 30 years old, he looked twice his age. Not only bald, he had shaved off his eyebrows. He had been the most charismatic member of the band…but now horribly overweight.

They inquired how he was getting along. The band had made sure Syd was receiving his share of royalties from the early records, so he was getting by fine…but really just existing.

The band was overcome seeing the state of their former friend and leader.

But there was work to be done. Someone asked the engineer to play the track from the top. Syd replied, “Why? You’ve already heard it once…”

The session ended and they never saw Syd again until his death decades later in 2006.

Sad. Crazy. Lost…

That’s not just the story of a burnt out English rock star. It’s a story you and I bump into every day…whether we know it or not.

If my posts of late have had a somber tone, it’s because life is painted in tones of grey these days. I could put on the safe mask of the churchman and say nothing’s wrong and that all is ‘well.’

But if 2014 is indeed the year of restoration, then it demands a stripping away of the veneer. Sometimes we endure seasons of trial. Whether from my own poor choices, or just the waves of life that crash…it’s okay to acknowledge the struggle. God knows all about it anyway.

This post would have no real ‘teeth’ unless you understand a bit of my grey. Loss of income and the uncertainty that brings, the stress of broken relationships and the slow process of healing. Falls decades old that still haunt the present. Anger at myself for failing, the bitter cup of rejection…

It feels like I’m in a song, stuck in an endless vamp. To repeat these wounds even in memory hurts like hell. I probably should say more…need to say more. But I just can’t. Not yet.

But maybe Syd wasn’t as crazy as we think. Why replay these words…?

“I’ve already heard them once…”

Indeed. I’m reminded that my destiny is not that of Syd Barrett…to crash and burn and fade away.

Life is the crucible where God refines us, hacking away the rough edges, and sharpening us through trial.

We are made in His image…with heart and soul and spirit and feelings and emotions and intellect. We experience all these because we are alive and awake to all that God has done and has planned.

So I’ll not fail to recount my story, light and dark. Because someone out there is living the grey in darker shades.

Life may be dark, but God places us in the grey to shine on…crazy diamonds all.