Music: The story behind “The End of the Road (Mabel’s Song)”

Solo piano player Joe Bongiorno
Solo piano player Joe Bongiorno

When I first heard Joe Bongiorno‘s new release, The Flight of a Dream earlier this month, I knew that he had a winner on his hands. I’ve listened to it now maybe six million times…but that’s been a couple of weeks, so I had time. It’s great! (Click here to hear samples – you’ll get it!)

I discovered that he had put a song called The End of the Road (Mabel’s Song) on the album, and although I know Joe well, I didn’t know of anyone named Mabel in his life. His response touched me deeply:

Been asked ALOT about the story behind this song from the new album…. You might remember a post of mine about 9 months back.

This song was inspired by that experience. Here it is from Feb 3rd of this year:

The new album...
The new album…

The doorbell rang this morning. A sweet elderly lady standing there with a worried look. I greeted her and she asked for Mabel. Mabel was the lady who lived in our house previously (we had just moved in four months before), and I knew she had she had passed away.

I really didn’t want to bear this news to the kind lady. She then told me that she had driven two days from Texas to come to the house to see her. She had written Mabel a letter and it had been returned to sender.

I remember this letter coming before the holidays. She had no other way to attempt contact than to come in person. With a frog in my throat, I let her know that Mabel had passed away. She sighed, as if almost with relief that what she feared was true, and then her eyes welled up sadly.

She looked to her husband still sitting in the car and shook her head sadly. He understood the look & turned away as if to hide his emotion. I invited her in for a little visit but she said sweetly, “It’s time to go home”.

Perhaps this is a reminder to me to reach out more often to friends and family. It’s a reminder, too, that life can change at any moment, for any of us… for someone my age, I have lost very few people who were dear to me.

I am quite sure that I’ll get my fair dose of this in the days to come….

Here’s the song (click here to listen).

Music: Make me an instrument of your peace….

Francesco, in action....
Francesco, in action….

This little prayer (known to monks, worldwide) is attributed by many to St. Francis, and is notable in that it doesn’t “ask for something;” instead it simply asks that we be allowed to channel peace to the people around us.

I’ve always thought it was a pretty robust expression of that little bit in the Lord’s Prayer that says, “Thy will be done.”

Which means we get out of the way & let it flow…and I love the job Sarah McLachlan does with her musical version of it, below.

Let it wash over you….

Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.


Poetry: Far better things…..

Let the tears wash your sorrows into the new day beyond....
Let the tears wash your sorrows into the new day beyond….

Part of the path to purification is walking (or running, if you’re fast that way!) through the fires that burn away the stuff…that keeps us from pure love. The fires are tough, usually painful, sometimes unbearably so – but there’s always another day. There’s always another sunrise. There’s always later…which is a great place to look back from.

Here’s one of my favourite expressions of this, from Rumi:

Sorrow prepares you for joy.
It violently sweeps everything out of your house,
so that new joy can find space to enter.
It shakes the yellow leaves from the bough of your heart,
so that fresh, green leaves can grow in their place.
It pulls up the rotten roots,
so that new roots hidden beneath
have room to grow.
Whatever sorrow shakes from your heart,
far better things will take their place…