B. B. King starts this Blues with a statement that fundamentally reverberates with the essence of Blues.
BB says, “Nobody Loves me But My Mother, And she could be Jiving Too.”
Now that is Blues. I think my mother loves me, but I can’t even count on that. King comes back and tells us that this is why he acts the way he does when his love does the things that she does.
Before he sings and after he sings, King plays his guitar with an anguish that pretty much tells musically what he otherwise tells us lyrically.
We can spend some time marveling in the truthfulness of the telling of the story. The song does not hide anything here. It tells a story of a pain that is deep. It reminds us of the Negro Spiritual, “Sometimes I feel like a Motherless Child.”
Sometimes I feel as though I am alone and can’t even count on my Mother. King tells the truth here.
You ever felt like that?
Before you quickly jump to how good God is and how he picked you up, turned you around and placed your feet on solid ground, lets come to the reality that this pain that King speaks of is not something that followers of God sidestep. At least not fully.
This forsakenness was felt so deep by the founder of the movement that carries his name. Jesus Christ himself knew about this forsakenness that the Slave singer sang about, and BB King here sings as well.
But No, I want to look at this forsakenness.
On that “Old Rugged Cross” Jesus cried: “My God My God Why hast thou forsaken me?” Matt. 27:46.
WHY IS PAIN IN SCRIPTURE?
Why is this in the scripture?
That God forsakenness?
Could it be that it is the same reason why BB King sang what he sang.
Or maybe it is the same reason why our ancestors in bondage sang what they sang.
Why, do we sing these songs?
Are they helpful?
I am not here to tell you with certainty that it is good, but there is something interesting about the need to articulate the pain.
There seems to be something valuable in just telling the story.
Dr. Zach Mills, author of the last Blues Preacher, told me in a conversation, “The worst thing in life is not talking about pain and heartache, but it is not having the words to be able to articulate the pain and heartache.”
Not having the words is the ultimate issue and pain.
Yes, I may not be able to change the fact that I question the motives of my mother. I may not be able to change the fact that I did what i was supposed to do, and like Jesus, find myself on a cross that I cannot get down from and that God will not take me down from.
I CAN SING THE SONG
All that may be true. But one thing I can do, is sing the song. I can tell the story. I can articulate the pain. And hopefully just that articulation will ultimately change the trajectory of my living in that pain.
In BB’s song, he explains the way he lives is in light of this pain and tauma.
In Jesus’ case, after he “Sang the Blues” of “My God My God Why?” He later was able to get in a postion to say, “Into they hands i commit my spirit.” Luke 23:46.
The Slave who sang motherless child doesn’t give us any indication of overcoming the situation in that song. But perhaps just telling the story. Perhaps singing the song. Perhaps just standing there tells you that I am not fully beaten by this.
Does telling the story help things?
Again, I do not know for sure.
But one thing i do know…as long as you tell the story, your very articulation is proof to the universe that you are still there.
KEEP SINGING THE SONG
Articulation is proof that I at least know I don’t deserve this. And even though my trauma may affect this relationship or the next relationship, I still aint’ gonna give up. Cause deep within singing the song still tells us of a small glimmer of hope.
Maybe that’s all it is…
I am still here. Cause I sing this song. Instead of giving up in despair, I’m gonna sing this song of pain.
This ain’t what we want to hear, I ain’t gonna guarantee you anything, just encourage you that if you ain’t got nothing else. Just keep singing the song.
Holy God, Sometimes we just wonder where you are and why you ain’t showing up. In those moments, we can’t do anything but articulate that pain. Lord, please draw near to us even when we can’t do anything but cry as our brother Jesus did when he wondered why…