I stumbled onto Amos Lee the other day while listening to Jango, an online radio station. I’d never heard of Amos Lee but he was singing something called, “El Camino,” and I liked it.
His voice is mellow and a bit gravely and it carries some pain in it but the pilgrim’s spirit can be heard in him, too.
“Well to all my friends
That treated me so well
You know I’m headed out
To that mission bell
Gonna wash my soul, gonna get it clean
Headed down the border road called the El Camino”
This is a beautiful song filled with pathos and truth-seeking.
I love the image of the sort of forlorn traveler perhaps a little weary with life taking off to find his way, leaving his friends behind to seek some redemption, some transcendence and transformation, down a border road to where the mission bell is calling him.
I want to go, too.
I want experiences that call me to deeper insight into life, and, to higher places of self-awareness. Not egotism. Not selfishness. Not vanity. But discovery. Revelation. Open-heartedness. Experiences that expose my doubts and fears, that lay bare the real me, that guide me into the freedom to be okay with all that I am and am not. So that hopefully I am more human, more sympathetic, more patient and caring toward others.
It is so easy to slip into the clutter and dysfunction of life and get lost in the disarray of things. So much seems to not be working right these days. Nearly everyone seems angry about something.
We are identified by the sharp unfinished edges within us. And sometimes without even thinking about it we forget how they poke and stab and wound.
We see all of the things we don’t like in one another. Instead of trying to understand what makes us similar, what makes us equal in our human capacities, we focus on our differences. We zero in on someone’s race or sexual orientation or politics or religious beliefs or lack thereof, and we make them targets for some searing anger we have built up in ignorance and pride. And we lose so much that might keep us in neighborliness and community and goodwill.
The mystic and poet, Kahlil Gibran, wrote, “We choose our joys and sorrows long before we experience them.”
That wisdom is a warning to us. How we approach life and people so determines how we experience them.
I’m listening for that mission bell, whatever and wherever it is. A calling to people and experiences that will wash my soul, and get it clean.
I am so ready for that.
© 2012 Timothy Moody