The Heart of the Matter
But my will gets weak/ And my thoughts seem to scatter/ But I think it’s about forgiveness/ Forgiveness/ Even if, even if you don’t love me/ I’ve been trying to get down to the Heart of the Matter/ Because the flesh will get weak/ And the ashes will scatter/ So I’m thinking about forgiveness
I go back to that song again and again. It is like a hymn, like a mantra or almost like a prayer for me. And the cadence of its music and lyrics surround me every time I listen to it. Says Don Henley, the lead vocalist of The Eagles, that it took him 40 years to compose the song for 4 minutes of singing. How well it was worth the wait to get to the heart of the matter!
And without carrying things too far, the song has some explanations from its authors here and there, about broken hearts, divorces and heartbreaks. But I’m not so interested in telling here what they thought or lived when composing it but what I feel when listening to it. Because in the end music is for that, right. And I think writing also fulfills a cathartic function for both authors and listeners.
The Heart of the Matter sings about a call, physical or metaphysical. A call that was not wanted to be heard but that happened. What was that voice saying, what message was it conveying? A novelty: difficult, hard, expected but not well received. Life passed, its blows and joys came and went and along the way, I lost myself and you lost yourself. What had found us was disappearing. Love, faith, hope? Cardinal virtues that did not lead to any port, an arduous journey that was shipwrecked. Is life as a couple or life itself in the story? Voices calling sailors like sirens. What are these voices, where do they come from and what do they want? What more do we want than love?
Inspiration brings us melodies, as well as voices, that come from endless and indefinite horizons about which we know nothing. This is what happened to Ennio Morricone when he wanted to compose The Mission. He suffered a sudden mandate to arrange what would eventually become one of the most perennial soundtracks in contemporary cinema.
But inspiration comes and goes, like the loop of the song in my playlist. Now we have to learn to live without that something we had: love, faith, hope? And we begin to miss it, we lack it, it is a necessity to live. But the more I know, the less I understand. Why? Because the truth seems elusive, it is not so easily found, or because we do not want to or can see it. What I thought I knew I am learning again. To unlearn is to learn again. To be inspired you have to be empty to be able to be filled with that source of voice from heaven.
And I try and try to get to the heart of the matter. But my will does not let me and my thoughts wander and I find… nothing. But I think — and I believe! — that in the end everything, absolutely everything is about forgiveness. To forgive from the heart. To forgive, even those who do not love us or stopped loving us, who knows why. Sorry, the most underrated of human decisions as we saw in John Michael McDonagh’s Calvary (2014) with Brendan Gleeson. A work of humanity and divinity at the same time. The engine of the universe, the key to Eternity, the solution to all problems.
But these times are uncertain, incomprehensible. From there arises a desire, a deep and undefined longing that some people fill with hatred, anger and envy. What we need most is sweetness, affection, tenderness, because if not, how will love survive in such a miserable time. The trust between men and with oneself that lead us to happiness is the first thing we kill. Pride and competition can’t take that place. Escaping at work doesn’t warm our hearts either, it just occupies our brains.