Will The Circle Be Unbroken? - Doc Watson and Clarence Ashley
I don’t believe in Jesus. But I did grow up believing. That belief - and the religious life built around it - informed so large a part of my younger years that it becomes impossible to extricate from any other facet of my childhood: it simply touched every ounce of it in some way. And that makes a mark on a heart, whether you want it to or not; there’s a yearning that gets built in. You can remove the belief intellectually, rationally - but emotionally, at times, it can be a whole different ballgame. And nothing makes me want to believe in some kind of religion or God more than a song like this.
Or, actually, nothing did until last week. You see, a few days ago I lost someone very close to me, someone who meant every bit as much to my childhood as religion, someone I can’t ever remember not loving in my 31 years on this little planet. When that happens, the need to believe in a Heaven of some sort returns with a kind of desperate ferocity, an emotional willingness to cast aside all reason and rationality to the contrary and simply believe because not believing means something too awful to think about: never seeing her again.
She went through a rather complicated spiritual journey in her own life, but ended up, in the final decade of her life, being devoutly religious. Jesus was her entire life in the past ten years or so since losing her husband. He was what she leaned on, heavily, to get her through the days, days increasingly filled with sadness and pain. And it was He, no doubt, who she hoped and longed to meet after finally shaking off this mortal coil.
To see someone love someone or something that much can be overwhelming. And for her sake, I want there to be a God who called her home a few days ago, called her home to reunite with the husband and daughter who preceded her, to the family and friends she’s lost throughout the years. I want there to be a reason she had to go through so much pain and a meaning to the entire trajectory of her life - to all our lives - in general. I want there to be a purpose for things, though I’m rarely sure there is. I want to be able to see her again. I want her to be okay.
When you lose a loved one, and you hear a song like this - there’s a better home awaitin’ in the sky, Lord, in the sky - you just want it all, so badly, to be true.