In last night’s blog I spent time looking at Humility as seen through the song Look Up on Jahméne Douglas’ new album Unfathomable Phantasmagoria. In that reflection I looked at the subjects of objective and subjective humility and how they are portrayed in this song. Humility is the virtue from which all other virtues come and without humility any other virtue we have is nothing but an illusion of it’s true self. With humility comes the ability to see oneself not as having little worth or importance but rather the ability to look beyond oneself and think of others first and to know of our dependance on others. It is a remarkably empowering virtue and this is expressed in Look Up.
If we allow this humility to work through us then this can change out whole perspective on life. We see things more clearly and with greater optimism. This will also impact on our relationships with others as we learn to see beyond ourselves and see the importance of what the Other has to say. Arguments become a marvellous opportunity for growth not just as individuals but also as a singular unit. Therefore with humility comes Vision. This is what shall be the topic of discussion today as I review the song When I See Ya.
When I See Ya – Vision
This has been a remarkably strange day. Everything started out fine. The post arrived early in the day and I was delighted to see that my copy of Laura Wright’s album Glorious had arrived in the post (I’ve been listening to Laura a lot recently and she has a most remarkable voice) as did my copy of Mandy Thomas’ You Can’t Run. This is certainly not a book I can say I am looking forward to reading however I believe it is one I need to read if I am to understand Jahméne as an artist better. I made the journey from home to go meet a friend; we’re leading a school retreat on Monday and had to plan the day out. All good so far. I was already listening to When I See Ya over and over thinking about what I would like to write about today. When I got back to my car what did I see?? A parking ticket!! I was absolutely outraged!
Why was I so angry? Clearly if you park in a certain area you deserve to get a ticket right? Well there were a few problems with this. The first one is that I had paid to park in that area and was back at the car fifteen minutes before my time period would be over. The second problem was that based on where I was parked I could clearly see a sign (in front of my car) saying park here for two hours. Finally, it was not until I had gone back to take some photos as part of an appeal process that I saw what I had not seen previously; a sign telling me that parking in this area was restricted at certain times. The sign was completely obscured by the foliage of a tree. It transpires that I had only been parked for nine minutes before the attendant gave me my ticket. If I had arrived a little later this could have been avoided. Needless to say I was absolutely bouncing and this one little event can completely overshadow all that has happened in the day thus far and threatens to upset all that will follow in the day.
The more I think about it the more I realise that today was apparently a good day to write about Vision. Isn’t it amazing how important our vision is? Isn’t it incredible how we may notice somethings but may be restricted from seeing something else (through our own fault or the fault of another) and this can have some far reaching consequences? Our vision and perspective of people and the world around us impacts greatly on our actions.
In the song When I See Ya this is celebrated in a very beautiful way. I love how this song begins; it’s almost like something which is difficult to make out becoming clearer. Jahméne sings about a person in particular who whenever he sees them it fills his heart in every way, he feels no pain, it makes him more than elevate and it causes him to celebrate. This could be a very beautiful romantic song however I believe there is more to it than just that. This song can also be sung as though from the perspective of one who loves us. Can you imagine for a moment that this song is being sung (not necessarily by Jahméne) to You personally? Imagine someone singing to you that you fill their heart with joy and love, that you cause them to celebrate and that they feel no pain. I think each of us would love someone to sing about us in this way but more than this I believe that there is someone who does sing about us in this way.
I am a Catholic. I am a Christian. I make no apology for this (why should I have to?) and I will always do my best to justify this conscious decision if someone asks me about my faith. I was brought up in a Catholic home and have come through the Catholic education system. I am an Irish Catholic and I rejoice in this. I am grateful to God for all that he has done in my life and for my very existence. It is my view that when God looks upon us , his children, it fills his heart in every way. It causes him to celebrate. It tells us this in the book of Zephaniah in the Old Testament:
“Yahweh your God is there with you, the warrior-Saviour. He will rejoice over you with happy song, he will renew you by his love, he will dance with shouts of joy for you as on a day of festival.” (Zephaniah 3:17-18)
God will rejoice with happy song because of your life. Never forget it was He who died for us. He suffered on the cross for us and yet is it just possible that because of our response to Him, our Yes to Him that while on the cross he feels no pain?
Jahméne has crafted a truly remarkable song in When I See Ya. So much of this album has been like a prayer offered up to God. Now we have a response back. That is incredible. It reminds me quite frankly of the story of the Prodigal Son (as found in the Gospel of Saint Luke; chapter fifteen) who took his share of his inheritance and squandered it on a life of worldly delights. When the money was all gone he took to living with the pigs. He came to his senses and decided to return to his father’s house and ask to work as a servant. While he was still a long way off his father saw him and ran to him. It filled his heart with joy and caused a celebration. My question to you, dear reader, would be is when the one loves you sees you, what will they see?
As for me well I am preparing to go to work again, and tomorrow morning I will begin my process of appealing the parking fine. Yet I can see now that even an event like this which threatens to put me in foul form actually has the capacity for something good to come from it. I believe that was achieved in this blog and this has taught me a very valuable lesson in relation to my vision. I may be able to see plenty, but I do not see all. Sometimes we cannot see the road fully in front of us, sometimes we cannot tell what another person may feel for us but sometimes we just have to step out and take a leap of faith. This will be the topic of tomorrow’s blog as I discuss the song My Faith…Faith.
Hope to see you all there.
Love and blessings