Friday, April 15, 2016
Only The Lonely
Increasingly, I am aware of those who, by the world's perspective, should be happy but are not. The following is from June 12, 2006 and is about one such individual.
One of my girlfriends ended up with my Roy Orbison album. I didn't try to get it back; I had her vacuum cleaner so it seemed like a fair trade at the time. One of the first songs I remember hearing as a kid was Orbison's Pretty Woman. Numerous boys who listened to that opening riff dreamed of playing the guitar. My most preferred Orbison tune would be his 1960 smash, Only The Lonely. Listening to those lyrics made me sure that Orbison must have first-hand knowledge of serious desolation. Plus, how could any male hit that impossibly high note on the line, You gotta take? He always seemed stiff and formal on stage. The story goes that his trademark dark glasses came about one night when he misplaced his regular pair, substituted his prescription shades during his performance, and the crowd loved the image. I was always struck by two characteristics of this original crooner from west Texas, who impacted the Beatles. He was incredibly homely in a profession that rewards appearance and he always sounded very sad. Last week, there was a PBS special on Roy Orbison. I only caught glimpses but I learned several horrific facts from Orbison's biography. In 1966, his wife, Claudette, was killed in a motorcycle accident in Tennessee. Only two years later, while Roy was touring in Europe, two of his three sons died in a house fire outside Nashville. Roy Orbison lived twenty more years, dying of a heart attack in 1988 at fifty-two. Gauging from his pictures, I would have guessed late sixties. Grief ages us.
Roy Orbison seems to me a most unlikely music star. He lacked the looks and the charisma the public craves but he had a realism that ordinary men and women could relate to. Jesus was an unlikely Messiah, at least in the eye of many contemporaries who were faithfully awaiting a more traditional king of the people. Isaiah's references to the coming Savior painted the picture of the one who would change the world's theology and fill the role as the ultimate redeemer of sinful humanity:
"He has no form or comeliness;
And when we see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.
He is despised and rejected by men,
A man of sorrow and acquainted with grief."
Isaiah 53:2,3 (New King James)
We have to get past preconceived notions to the message that he brought to this desperate world. Apparently, he didn't look the part but beauty cannot save the souls of mankind. Look at what Isaiah says HE did for us:
HE took our infirmities and carried our sorrows.
HE was pierced for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities.
HE took our sin.
And HE could do it because HE knew who we were- HE was one of us. That favorite Roy Orbison song of mine opens with the words, Only the lonely, know the way I feel tonight. Most can empathize with his sentiments because we've been there: the loneliness, the pain, the grief. Our redeemer has been there, too. Roy Orbison verbalized the human condition through the gift of his music. Jesus saved us from that human condition by the gift of his life. His blood was the eternal cure for our loneliness and every other piece of baggage that travels with it.
Applicable quote of the day:
"I may be a living legend but that sure don't help when I've got to change a flat tire."
To listen to Roy Orbison sing Only The Lonely, click or copy/paste the link below:
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Posted by Steve Hawley at 8:02 PM