Monday, January 28, 2013

Skipping by Eddie Vedder

I don’t know what it means to be a parent.

As a teacher I’m responsible for my “kids,” but at the end of the day, they go home to their parents and I go home to my wife and my dog.

I’ve talked to parents, read books about parents and I’m currently watching Parenthood on Netflix. Parenthood is something that is on my mind not only because of my profession but because it’s something that God-willing will be part of my future.

I first heard Eddie Vedder’s “Skipping,” in a funeral. Throughout the service stories of an 18-year old boy filled the church. A couple pews in front of me I could see between a mother’s grief as she listened to people talk about her son.

When I read in the program that an Eddie Vedder song would be played during the service, I was surprised. My exposure to Eddie Vedder was pretty limited and my main impression of him came from Pearl Jam’s controversial hit, “Jeremy.” But as the voice of a young girl squeaked out between a calming guitar line and Vedder’s distinctive baritone started, I realized I was listening to something very special.

Vedder wrote “Skipping,” for his daughter as part of the charity album, Every Mother Counts, dedicated to addressing the issue of maternal mortality during pregnancy. This song was one of the mother’s and the son’s favorites. As the song played, each lyrics seemed to be written about their relationship.

The simple act of holding hands, which we take for granted, was a central way that this mother and son communicated their love. Like the service, this song is full of thanksgiving and cherishing the moments that bring true meaning into life.

“Forever we’ll talk and forever we’ll drown in each other skipping around,” could not have meant more in that moment as we all sat there contemplating how forever could exist in the memories we hold in our hearts.

The most powerful story that was told during the service was about how the son would feel after surgery.  This boy had to go through many difficult medical procedures in his life and he would wake up confused after the operations, not understanding what had happened or where he was. Then his mom would reach through the jungle of tubes and wires to hold his hand. He would know immediately that it was his mom and he would calm down. As Vedder sings, “All the king’s horses and all the king’s men,” could not keep this mom from holding her son’s hand.

This service and "Skipping," gave me a glimpse of the love between a mother and a child.  More than that it made me realize how much I don't understand about the human heart.  There's so much I have yet to experience in life and while that fact is intimidating, it's kind of exciting.

There's a lot of amazing things on this planet but I'm not sure I'll ever witness something quite as powerful and beautiful as the love I saw during that service of a parent for a child. 

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