Wednesday, July 9, 2014

So much to be thankful for

Hank Williams: Thy Burdens Are Greater Than Mine

Travelin' down a lonely highway
I knew not where the road would end
Not a penny in my pocket
All alone without a friend

In a little country village
I met a man and he was blind
As I helped him cross the highway
Oh Lord, I cried his burdens are greater than mine
I can see the light of day, I need not feel my way
Yes, his burdens are greater than mine

Met a lad while on my travel
Tryin' hard to play the game
Though his leg was very crippled
And he could not speak his name
Yet, he smiled in understandin'
Though life to him had been unkind
And as I watched, I cried in sorrow
Oh Lord, I see his burdens are greater than mine
I can speak my name aloud, make my way among the crowd
Yes, his burdens are greater than mine

Just by chance I passed a graveyard
I saw a young man kneelin' there
In his hands, there were some roses
On his lips, there was a prayer
On a stone, these words were written
"Your soul is God's, your memory mine"
And as I watched, I cried in sorrow
Oh Lord, I see his burdens are greater than mine

One of my all time favorite songs by Hank Williams, one he never recorded commercially. The haunting voice of Hank makes this all that much better of a song. Hank apparently liked this song even though he never did an official recording of it for release but he did versions for The Johnny Fair Syrup Show, The Mother's Best Shows and The Health and Happiness Shows; MGM thought enough of the Johnny Fair version to release it as a single after Hank's death. This song would have been perfect for his nom de plume, Luke the Drifter. However, I didn't come here to tout the music of my favorite singer but rather to make an observation.

I can be a complainer as we all can be. I wish it would quit raining. I wish it wasn't so hot. On and on the list goes. We get so busy with seeing all the negative things we can't see the positives. We get so wrapped in our little bit of problems that we can't see the rainbow that's in the sky after the rain. We focus on the fact we got rained on! Hey, KFC didn't have any chicken livers on the buffet.....I must complain to the manager about such a travesty! It might be easier to find what we DO NOT complain about!

I think this song sums it up so well. Traveling down a lonely highway, flat busted broke, no clue where the end of the road was and not even one friend to complain to about his miserable lot in life! I can imagine even that our fictional character was hitchhiking down the road. We could go all that much further and play a scenario that he was so broke he couldn't buy gas for his car and had ran out a few miles back. This would truly be a Hee Haw moment of "gloom, despair and agony on me." No one could dare blame our fictional wanderer if he felt a twinge of self-pity. I mean, wouldn't we feel the same way? None of us would be displaying much sunshine if our parade got rained on as much as Hank's character did, would we?

Something happened to Hank's fictional character in this song. He found out that there were others who had it much worse than he did. He realized in reality he had it pretty doggone easy compared to these three people he met along the way. He ran into two physically challenged people, one with a leg problem that couldn't even speak and the other blind. Hank's character had full use of his body. Though the road was long and seemingly unending he could at least walk it and enjoy the beauty of the nature around him. He didn't have to have someone lead him along or someone push him along in a wheelchair. He could speak out loud when he needed something unlike one of the people he met.

Finally he passed a graveyard. If a graveyard doesn't put things into perspective for you there isn't much that will I'm afraid. It wasn't just any graveyard though. A young man was kneeling there beside a new dug grave. Do you get that? A young man! Not an elderly couple who had spent many years together and lived a full life. No. What a tragedy we're seeing portrayed in front of us with this song. Our character now realizes just how good he has it and is probably feeling ashamed of how miserable he was feeling earlier.

I said all of that to offer up the thought that we're the same way. We gripe and we complain. When you're feeling down and out instead of feeling sorry for yourself, think about those that have it much worse than you. Perhaps go volunteer to help others such as the homeless or the elderly and you'll see how good you actually have it. 

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