Last night, we watched the concert of Paul McCartney at Candlestick Park, the final event/concert at that legendary venue. It was a memorable and awesome experience. As Marjorie, one friend who also witnessed the event, sighed, “I don’t want to end the night.” The high point, the most poignant part of the night for me was “Let it be!” the parting song of the Beatles. Even in their hour of darkness, in their times of trouble, when the night is cloudy; there was still a light that shines. In the sadness, there was still a glimmering of hope and meaning in the horizon:
For though they may be parted
There is still a chance that they will see
There will be an answer, let it be.
Somehow, the song always reminds me of Mother Mary and her Fiat. In the face of strange things happening around her (her pregnancy not by her betrothed, Joseph’s fidelity and devotion even at her ‘unexplained’ pregnancy, her cousin’s Elizabeth own pregnancy in spite of her old age), she could only mutter: “Let it be done to me according to Thy word. . . . Let it be done to me. . . . Let it be done. . . . Let it be!” And she breaks out in to song, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord.” And the simple maiden acknowledges how the Almighty has done great things for her. In her simplicity and ordinariness she expresses a longing rooted deeply in the human heart: the hungry shall have their fill, the lowly will be uplifted, the poor and persecuted will obtain mercy for the proud shall be scattered and the the mighty will be brought low.
Even as I was singing along with most of the songs Paul rendered for us last night, I kept being amazed at his and the Beatles’ genius. Starting out their careers as teeny-boppers singing mushy love songs, they progressed to brilliant musicians producing mystical and metaphysical songs and lyrics. They wrote about ordinary things and ordinary people. And in the process they went into the heart of things.
There were instances last night, when at the sound of just the first chords of a song; there would be people or groups who would already shriek in sheer delight as though those few strains have tugged at heartstrings deep within their heart. That is the beauty of the Beatles’ songs for me. Their melodies are at once original and familiar. When I hear them for the first smile, I smile and am happy at such a happy or captivating melody. At the same time, I get a feeling that I have been singing the tune all my life. It is the same thing with their lyrics. I feel some wonderful or eloquent emotions and I am at loss for words. And the lyrics of their songs just captures exactly how I feel. And I take their lyrics as my own. After I while, I cannot express myself with referencing their lyrics and the lyrics become my very own. There comes a point when I start imagining the Beatles actually took the lyrics from my mouth.
I am puzzling over this experience. Did the Beatles and I go to the same experience and their genius is giving words and melody to this experience? We all fall in love, just seeing a girl standing there. We all are sometimes lost like the Nowhere Man. We somehow sometimes fly up with Lucy in the sky with diamonds, with or without LSD. We all know it is along and winding road. But could it be that there a common essential core within everyone of us and without us that binds us together in our shared humanity? And is this core within me and without me the Divine Energy that has created and made us possible.Therein lies the essential genius of Paul McCartney and the Beatles.
And Mary said:
“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm,
and has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children forever.”
Luke 1:46 – 55