When I was in high school and junior college I was not really a part of the “cool” crowd, nor was I part of the uncool squad. There were “frats” and “greasers”. College bound and blue collar bound.
It was as simple as that.
Or was it?
Why do we look to things that are outside ourselves to get our identity?
I could go in several directions at this point…what point?
Over a period of several years I preached at the church I attended two or three times. Each time I preached ( I call it sharing ) I would work Bob Dylan into the sermon somehow. Just as he seemed to always fit when I needed him in high school, he fit during those times of sermonizing. This may sound heretical to some, but trust me, Dylan had a lot going for him.
#1…the Bible says that God gives gifts to men and that he doesn’t repent after He gives them. Bob got his gift from God (the Creator) and during a period of time (from Slow Train Coming through Saved) he had a decidedly Christian message.
All God wants is a little credit.
#2…Dylan helped me make it through some tough times.
High school in the small town I grew up in was mostly brutal. The haves and the have nots. This side of the tracks and that side. During my stay, I lived on both sides and in the middle. You can imagine how confusing my life was.
Many times I would come home after a night out (read into that whatever you want) and feel a little lost or out of sorts with myself and the world. The only thing that would help me settle down would be to put the stereo headphones on, turn off the lights, and listen to Dylan ( I also listened to Miles Davis, but that is another story ).
The album I remember most is “Bringing It All Back Home”.
It’s Allright Ma was the song I remember most.
Even though the lyrics were a little bleak, I would gather some solice from them and after a time, calm down enough to go to sleep and look forward to another day.
I memorized them. I knew every guitar lick and harmonica chorus.
Here is one verse that has stuck with me.
You lose yourself, you reappear
You suddenly find you got nothing to fear
Alone you stand with nobody near
When a trembling distant voice, unclear
Startles your sleeping ears to hear
That somebody thinks
They really found you.
Some people stopped at Dylan’s voice. I took it in…hook, line and sinker.
I still think that he is one of America’s greatest poets.
I have no idea where he stands with God at this point.
His latest album Modern Times is a great one even though the poetry in it doesn’t peer into the great unkown looking for answers.
I got this weird compilation album several weeks ago on Amazon dot com and there was one cut on it that had this group singing lyrics from the Song of Songs in the Bible. So I read the whole book the other day to see where the lyrics came from.
Talk about imagery…that book is loaded with it.
But that’s another story….for another time.
In “My Back Pages” Dylan wrote:
Yes, my guard stood hard when abstract threats
Too noble to neglect
Deceived me into thinking
I had something to protect
Good and bad, I define these terms
Quite clear, no doubt, somehow.
Ah, but I was so much older then,
I’m younger than that now.