Monday, December 13, 2010

The ugliest song I've ever heard

This is "Pietà, Signore," sung by Luciano Pavarotti. Give a listen:



Right about now you're probably thinking, "'Ugly,' kuri? WTF?" Well, yes, the music is beautiful. Pavarotti's voice is beautiful. The emotion, the desperate yearning and even fear, is beautifully expressed.

But what is it that is yearned for? What is it that is feared? Well, "Pietà, Signore" means "Have mercy, Lord." These are the lyrics, translated into English:
Have mercy, Lord,
on me in my remorse!
Lord, have mercy
if my prayer rises to you:
do not chastise me
in your severity.
Less harshly,
always mercifully,
look down
on me, on me.

Never let me
be condemned to hell
in the eternal fire
by your severity.
Almighty God, never let me
be condemned
to the eternal fire
by your severity.

Have mercy, Lord,
Lord, have mercy
on me in my remorse!
If my prayer rises to you
look down
on me, Lord.

Have mercy, Lord,
on me in my remorse!
Lord, have mercy
if my prayer rises to you:
do not chastise me
in your severity.
Less harshly,
always mercifully,
look down
on me, on me.

Never let me
be condemned to hell
in the eternal fire
by your severity.
Almighty God, never let me
be condemned
to the eternal fire
by your severity, by your severity.

I'm different from a lot of my other ex-Mo friends in that I have few negative feelings about my time in the church. On the whole I consider it to have been a positive experience. It was something I needed at the time. (Parts of it were, anyway.)

But this song -- this song brings back memories.

Memories of remorse. Of pain. Of fear. Remorse for "sins" that hurt no one. The pain of failing to live up to the arbitrary and demanding standards of my god. Fear that I would fail to reach the greatest rewards of an afterlife.

When I think back on all the time I wasted groveling before an imaginary god, it makes me angry. Not at god; he (almost certainly) doesn't exist. Not at the church or its people; they don't know any better. At myself.

I'm angry at myself for believing it. For needing to believe it.

But along with my anger, I feel a gladness. I'm glad that I saw the light. I'm glad that I no longer believe it. I'm glad that I no longer need to believe it. I'm free. Free at last. I'm the slave of no god. And it feels great.

So here's another song. Not as pretty as the first one, but it's beautiful to me.



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2 comments:

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