July 4, 2020

Lent with Mary Chapin Carpenter (2)

Lent with Mary Chapin Carpenter (2)

Each year, on Ash Wednesday and during Lent, I focus attention on a singer-songwriter or album from the popular culture of my lifetime in which I find echoes of the Lenten journey.

This year, we devote ourselves to listening to Mary Chapin Carpenter’s superb intensely personal album from 2012, Ashes And Roses, which describes her own journey “from night into day,” as she processed a life-threatening illness, a divorce, and the death of her father.

Today, we hear a song from the record called “Chasing What’s Already Gone.” The title for Ashes and Roses comes from a line in this song.

This perceptive piece describes the all-too-human quality of looking back on our lives in such a way that we find ourselves bound by the past. It urges looking back with wisdom, but not chasing that which we can no longer capture.

Like the line that spells the far horizon
Moving with you as fast as you can run
Half your life you pay it no attention
The rest you can’t stop wondering
What you should have done
Instead of chasing what’s already gone

What allows me to do what I do is when people hear these songs and say, ‘That’s how I feel, too.’ It makes you realize how much we are all alike, how connected we are, and how universal our experiences are. As I’ve gotten more distance from the events of the last few years, I realize that these feelings aren’t anything to be ashamed of. More than anything, that’s what has always allowed me to make music and, certainly, make this record. As terrifying as it is to be so honest about something, at the same time, it’s even more terrifying to imagine keeping it all hidden. It’s a necessary step towards wholeness to see where we have come from.

Mary Chapin Carpenter

Comments

  1. Some very profound words from a gifted artist. The God give universal thread of humanity that we all share makes our lives rich and really worth living. As I age I appreciate the wise counsel to look back in wisdom but live in the now. The good old days are always better in my recollections than the reality of the actual days. Paul’s urging to run the good race becomes clearer as you age. Music , art and literature are truly gifts from God that makes us better as individuals but connects us as this wonderful album does. Wonderful thoughts in this article and I will add it to my memory bank. Thanks ,Chaplin Mike.

  2. senecagriggss says

    I’m pretty much pathologically nostalgic.

  3. Men over 40
    rise at night
    and look out at
    city lights,
    wondering where
    they took the wrong
    turn, and why life
    is so long.