Saturday, June 30, 2007

“Seven Wonders”: My Theme Song for 1987

It’s Friday night – and that means “music night” at the Wild Reed!

Here for your enjoyment is Fleetwood Mac’s 1987 hit, “Seven Wonders” – with Stevie Nicks on lead vocals (and in at least three different outfits!).*

This particular song has special significance for me, which I’ll talk more about shortly. But first, here is the music video for “Seven Wonders” . . .

. . . If I live to see the Seven Wonders
I’ll make a path to the rainbow’s end
I’ll never live to match the beauty again.

So long ago, it’s a certain time, it’s a certain place
You touched my hand and you smiled
All the way back you held out your hand
But if I hope and if I pray
Ooh, well it might work out some day.

In 1987, at the age of 21, I feel in love for the first time. Unfortunately, the friend I fell for was straight. Up until that time I had this deluded idea that I’d live happily ever after with the first man to whom I found myself deeply attracted. It was a given that my feelings for him would be reciprocated. Yeah, I know: the folly and self-centeredness of youth!

Discovering that, more often than not, this is not the case was a rude awakening – and the beginning of a very difficult time for me. For I soon realized that all the hopes and prayers in the world would never make it “work out some day” with this particular person.

Perhaps the worst aspect of this experience was that I had (or believed I had) absolutely no one with whom to share what I was going through – except for God, of course. It would be another six years before I came out to those around me.

I’m long over that first disappointment in matters of the heart – though Fleetwood Mac’s “Seven Wonders” can still bring the memories flooding back and even a tear to my eye!

Recently I read an insightful reflection by Gordon Livingston in his book, Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart: Thirty True Things You Need to Know Now. Entitled “Unrequited Love is Painful but Not Romantic,” this particular reflection has helped put this experience from 1987 (and a few subsequent ones!) into perspective.

Following are two brief excerpts:

At its heart, unrequited love is a longing for what we cannot have. Who among us has not felt its sting? Childhood and adolescent crushes that are not reciprocated give way to adult searches for the perfect partner. What we are looking for is someone we imagine will complete us and affirm our worth, and whose love will warm us in our old age. It is a powerful fantasy, seldom realized.

. . . What gives love its power is that it is shared. When experienced alone, the feeling we are having may be intense, as is any form of loneliness, but it is not likely to persist or result in any useful behavior and is limited interest to others.

I may well never live to “match the beauty” of that fantasy of 1987. But there are experiences and relationships of far greater complexity, beauty, and truth. I’ve known several of them and hope (and pray) to one day touch, embody, and share with another that special type of relationship that is marked by mutual attraction and connection, and capable of being expressed and experienced both sacramentally and sexually.

* Check out too the interactions between Stevie and her former lover, Lindsay Buckingham. Though fleeting, they’re nevertheless very telling of what’s been described as a “love/hate relationship.”

Yet note how towards the end of the video they’re shown being quite playful and tender with one another. It’s quite touching, and obviously speaks of some degree of reconciliation.

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
The Many Forms of Courage
Sons of the Church: The Witnessing of Gay Catholic Men - A Discussion Guide
Trusting God’s Generous Invitation

And for more music on The Wild Reed visit:
Crackerjack Man
All at Sea
Actually, I Do Feel Like Dancing
“And A Pitcher to Go”
The Living Tree
Soul Deep

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi, Michael,

I am a fellow Haworth author who reads your blog from time to time. I find myself relating so much to what you have to say, but never posted a comment before.

Popular music also got me through a lot of heartache. I used to pray all the time with Sinead O'Connor's album "I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got." Seems funny now, but it was a great help at the time.

My book's called 'Seventy Times Seven,' and it's loosely based on my years as an openly gay brother in the Catholic Church. And, yes, Sinead plays a role!

Thanks for all the work you've been doing to reconcile the church and gay community. Look forward to getting to know you better.

-Salvatore Sapienza