I wasn’t planning to write tonight, much less publish, because early this morning I had a realization that kind of broke my heart a little bit. And no matter what, even a little bit of a broken heart is still a broken heart. In my experience, no matter what it’s over, how prepared for it I am, how certain I am that I’m better because of it or better off from it, a broken heart is one of life’s less enjoyable experiences.
What’s so important or fascinating or urgent that compelled me to boot up the MacBook Pro despite my instinct to keep to myself? The butchering of my favorite Christmas song.
That’s right, transgress me — make me a promise you don’t keep, take me for granted, underpay me, take advantage of my friendship, refuse me an opportunity to make amends, or, yes, even break my heart — and I’ll try to be honorable toward you. But sing Mary Did You Know not-so-well? You’re going to get it! I’m looking at you, Rascal Flatts!
I ordered a new bed, which came yesterday, but I couldn’t do anything about it because I had to finish going over my niece’s research paper. Tonight I planned to attack my old bed with a vengance to break it down and get it out of here. Bones was keeping me company on the TV, but that ended as I finished the dismantle.
CMA Country Christmas was on as I started hauling pieces to the dumpster. I came back from my first trip, and Rascal Flatts was butchering my favorite Christmas song. I just happened to walk in the door when they got to a particularly difficult part of the song, but I will show no mercy. Rascal Flatts: Either rehearse the difficult song several thousand more times in the venue before performing, or stick to a Christmas song in your range.
LET IT BE KNOWN: Two artists — TWO — can do justice to Mary, Did You Know:
- Michael English, who recorded it first on his debut album. Hearing Michael English sing this live at the Ferrell Center when I was in school was an amazing experience. I could feel the weight of Heaven trying to burst into the stadium to marvel at the wonder and awe of the Christmas miracle.
- The Katinas, who have the natural harmony that only brothers can and a beautiful humility when performing that portrays the awesome depth of emotion in the lyrics of the song.
LET IT BE KNOWN: Reba, Kenny Rogers, Wynonna, and certainly not Clay Aiken — who should be fined like a mouthy, homophobic NBA player for having the arrogance for even thinking about recording Mary, Did You Know — cannot do justice to this song. People, stop trying. Especially country artists. I suspect some random rocker could bring a new take to it, but unless you have something new to add — like The Katinas — keep yer trap shut and move on to another Christmas song. BUT ESPECIALLY RASCAL FLATTS. The Baby Jesus is crying because of your cacophony tonight. Do you hear me?! Your cacophony makes the Baby Jesus CRY!
I worked myself up into that rant in my second trip to the dumpster. But when I was chucking the pieces in, I had to admire my careful selection of what I thought was a nice bed. For some years, it was a nice bed. It matched my beautiful bedroom furniture very well, and it was chosen for how different it was than anything I’d ever had before. Already slightly emotional from the day’s heartbreak, despite a pretty good day overall, I allowed myself a brief moment to reminisce while I schlepped out more trash.
The last trip to the dumpster is when I realized that my recent desires and plans to rid myself of most of the stuff in my apartment — boxes and boxes of decorations I have no place for, clothes I have no room for, books I have no more use for — that I’m just in a phase that I’ve had before. I’m repeating old patterns, and I’m probably chasing an “unattainable” dream that is only unattainable because deep down I don’t believe I deserve to attain it.
When I got out of the shower a little bit later, Amy Grant and Vince Gill were singing Breath of Heaven. I sat on the couch just in time for her to sing, “Help me be strong. Help me be. Help me.”
Wow. And ouch. Wouch.
The way that prayer, that plea, devolves (or does it evolve?!) has always moved me.
My new bed isn’t even out of the box yet, so I’m going full-on ghetto for a couple of nights with the mattress on the floor. I’ve changed the orientation of my mattress, but it has clean sheets on it, and I’m fresh from a shower, so I’ll sleep well, I hope! I may get thrown off when I get up to go to the bathroom, but no worries!
Help me be strong. Help me be. Help me. So, no worries. I’m covered.