Pick Me!

A weblog by Laura Moncur


Pack Up Your Sorrows

Filed under: Philosophy — Laura Moncur @ 3:27 pm

If you’ve been paying attention, you would know that my choir is performing today. Even though I had a huge Halloween party the night before, I’m “Up and At ‘Em” today to sing. The song we are performing is “No Man Is An Island” and I’ve had the hardest time with it. It’s not the vocal range. The first soprano part is very high and I have to stretch to make one note and hold it, but that’s only one note of many.

Q: Why are Unitarians such bad hymn singers? A: We’re too busy reading a line or two ahead to see if we agree with it. UUC Home Page, Unitarian Humor, May 1998

True to form, the part of the song that I’m having trouble with is one line from the song, “Each man’s grief is my own.” I don’t experience this with people other than my closest of friends and family. I have plenty of empathy for the good things, but for the bad things, I separate myself from the pain. I don’t really feel that connected to humanity.

I am a rock. I am an island. And the rock feels no pain And an island never cries. Simon & Garfunkel, I Am A Rock, 1966

Sometimes I would rather live in the “I Am An Island” world instead of the “No Man Is An Island” world. Simon and Garfunkel had it right. “Each man’s grief is my own,” just doesn’t ring true for me. People try to spread their grief on me all the time. They tell me their sad stories in an effort to relieve some of their pain and I’m sure it works for them to some extent, but their stories rarely grieve me. I usually just listen with anticipation, hoping I can cull them for something interesting to think about and move on. Their grief isn’t my own, it’s my fodder.

If somehow you could pack up your sorrows And give them all to me. You would lose them, I know how to use them. Give them all to me. Tom Paxton, Pack Up Your Sorrows, 1966

I’m more like the song that Peter, Paul and Mary recorded called Pack Up Your Sorrows. “You would lose them, I know how to use them.” That’s more like me, a peppy little ditty about taking the grief of others and transforming it into energy. I prefer that song. Why aren’t we singing that in choir? I’m not in charge, that’s why. Singing in a choir isn’t about being the one in charge. Ironically, when you’re in charge of the choir, you don’t get to sing.

Think of me today. I will hit that note and hold it. I know this because I’ve practiced alone all week. Singing in the choir isn’t about singing alone. It’s about singing together. Just know, however, that while I’m singing “No Man Is An Island” I will be thinking about Peter Paul and Mary.


No Comments »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a comment

Powered by WordPress
(c) 2003-2007 Laura Moncur