#22 – Discovery During a Self-Imposed Exile

Cherie recently posted an insightful reflection on “Roll Away Your Stone” intertwining addiction, discovery, and redemption. I strongly suggest reading her piece (or revisiting it). Her words allowed my mind to wander inward enough so to spark my first entry in a long while. I’m sure this pleases my fellow writers.

Some close friends know that I take great pleasure in listening to the radio. I find that my daily commute is ideal for reflection while exploring new music on my local independent radio station. For the past few weeks a particular song has haunted me. Bon Iver, a folk group, released “Holocene”, a song that has received praise and noticeable airplay. Without Cherie’s post I would not have considered writing about this song. Deliberately I avoided interviews with the group and the interpretations of fans.

After neglecting to follow through on a commitment, or forgetting a task, there is no worse feeling than being reminded of that particular broken promise.

The little shortcomings and great failures both nag one’s confidence. For a moment we question ourselves. If left unchecked theses cracks in confidence could potentially send fissures deep into one’s sense of self worth. And then we feel as if we have drifted away into uncomfortable territory, far away from familiar waters. We feel alone.

In the lovely refrain, Bon Iver describes these realizations of inadequacy as instantaneous:

“…at once I knew I was not magnificent
strayed above the highway aisle
(jagged vacance, thick with ice)
I could see for miles, miles, miles”

How do we regain our confidence after it has been shaken? Some people dive into favorite activities (like escaping to radio land). But only by facing the reasons why broke our word, and then taking steps to address them, can return on the path toward regaining one’s self-confidence and sense of worth.

Lent provides us with opportunities to voluntarily subject ourselves to various instances of loneliness. Knowing that many Catholics spend this season exploring their own lives and hopefully making needed improvements, we can take comfort in knowing that we really are not alone in encountering our foibles.

The video:



Posted on March 28, 2012, in Lent, meaningful music. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. As they say, “I know that feel.” Why is it that we wallow in our failures for so long before bringing them to God for forgiveness and freedom? I guess it’s just (fallen) human nature. I finally got a chance to look up the song today, and it communicates that vague uneasiness of a heavy conscience perfectly in the music. I’m not a fan of this particular style of high-pitched male vocals, but Holocene strikes me as the perfect track for that common scene toward the end of a romantic movie where the hero is sulking over a mistake, then finally decides to go win her back.

    PS- I tacked on the video to the end of your post in case anyone’s too lazy to youtube it 🙂

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