So maybe today will be a little more personal than normal. I have been struggling for the last few weeks to say what I want to say about the show I saw a few Friday’s ago at Fourth Presbyterian in Chicago featuring Josh Ritter without it being a bit personal, and I’ve come up empty, so what the hell, let’s do this, okay?
About a year ago, about the time my divorce became finalized, Josh Ritter released an album about his own divorce. It was a record that got me through the darkest period, giving me comfort in that ‘misery loves company’ kind of way. I haven’t listened to the album much since that point really, my mind viewing it as something that could never mean anything different than it already did: a sad reminder of a life that no longer existed. That’s all to say that I wasn’t sure really what to expect when I walked into the church that night with my little sister and my new ladyfriend.
That was silly. What I failed to hear in those songs during the dark days was that they have a whole other side to them, a side that’s full of hope and joy- I suppose it was difficult to see that redemptive side because I hadn’t lived the rest of the story Ritter was telling, hadn’t lived the part where the sorrow fades and happiness and love return. Sitting there in that church next to the woman who had brought those things back into my life made the whole story Ritter was telling crystal clear. It was kind of staggering to sit there and be reminded of how far I had come, how much different my life is, how happy I am now compared to a year ago, and it was just as eye-opening to see that these songs that had meant so much had grown right along with me.
I’ve said it a number of times to people recently, but a year is an insanely long time and it holds a whole lot of possibilities. It was good to be reminded of that again, and so interesting and comforting to see that the truth had been there all along in those songs I’ve loved and held close through it all.
and I’m happy for the first time in a long time.