Sunday, October 03, 2010

Hearing John Waite's "Missing You" after 26 years

The other night I was wandering around You Tube, as I often rather enjoy doing. I like to listen to songs I liked as a kid, or simply songs I would not be likely to hear anywhere else. But the other night I happened to remember and look up a song that was my favorite during my Senior year in high school. It shook me just a bit to hear it again. (Embedding is disabled, but here is the link:

Musically, the song is not very impressive. Even at the time I didn't like it for any impressive musical quality. I thought the singer was cute, but that was probably an after-thought. I liked it because it was the mirror of my soul. I suppose that's why it was a bit troubling to hear it again, to revisit my soul as it was.

The lyrics reflect a confused, hurting, broken, angry, cynical, isolated and hardened man who both bemoans the loss of his love, but insists over and over that he does not miss her. Even the title, "Missing You," reveals the confusion, because he always sings "ain't missing you!"

I loved this song back in 1984 because it put my soul into words. There was no boy in my life that merited all this confusion, though. This song was popular right around the time that I first started to admit the effect that my father's alcoholism had had on my life, which I wrote about here. Like the character in the song, I was a pile of confused pain as a result. I loved my dad, but all I was in touch with was pain and cynical anger towards him.

The poignancy of seeing the video again, I think, was in seeing how it ends with a near-miss of a hopeful and happy reunion. Buried under all the pain the character expresses, there is this glimmer of hope that the viewers see even though the characters don't. I am sure it was that tiny glimmer that made this song so attractive to me (not just John Waite's red hair!). Somehow this song allowed me to tap into my longing just a tiny bit, to express my anger quite a bit, and to hope that somehow there was hope.

Back in the day, this song was like a saving grace to me. I am so deeply grateful that in the 26 years since then I have experienced so many more true and lasting graces that have healed my pain, my cynicism, my anger, and have turned my longing towards the One for whom my soul was made.

No comments: