EPISODE 255: The Letter

Pastorally — and generally — it is easy to miss the core of what’s going on with a person in pain. You may see some symptoms — tho’ sometimes even the symptoms are hidden — and may sub-rationally understand that something bad is taking place under the surface. But when it comes to the “Heart of Darkness” inside a sufferer, it may be very hard to fathom and to surface.

Yet surfacing that “Heart” is the essence of what love is all about.

How often in relationships have I missed the heart of the problem!

This cast takes as its text a letter that Eric Clapton once wrote to Pattie Boyd. It is as heartfelt and simply surgical as a letter to another person — let alone God — could possibly be. If only all of us could lay out our elemental pain in such an open fashion. For then the pain, through active and concerned empathy, could be felt, and maybe healed.

But that rarely happens. What happens instead is suicide, fatal irrational decisions, extreme actings-out, and interventions that inspire life-long regret in their aftermath.

I think Eric Clapton’s letter to Pattie Boyd should be required reading for anyone in the helping professions, and particularly in the ministry. Listen to it — I’m not Alexander Scourby, but I tried — and think of yourself. Or think of someone you truly love. Who is suffering in silence.

Podcast 255 is dedicated to CHARLOTTE B. GETZ.

EPISODE 256: My Antediluvian Baby

Donovan’s odd and brilliant song from 1970 entitled “Atlantis” is a good example of what PZ’s Podcast is all about.

And what is that?: Well, if you get to the heart of what’s really on your mind, what’s really bothering you, then you are almost home. Moreover, if you can give it up to God, He always deals with it, and for your good. Making the connection between your reality and God’s Reality: that’s the presenting problem of life.

I like “Atlantis”, by Donovan, because underneath the sententiousness of the first minute or so, what the singer really wants to talk about is “my antediluvian baby”. Underneath the somewhat affected “history” lesson is the singer’s drive to dive, his drive to locate the underwater object, the girl, of his dreams. (Think “Stella Fregelius”, that most alarming novel of H. Rider Haggard. Don’t ever read it, by the way — that is, if you value your sanity.)

This cast, per usual yet with a fresh flare into the night sky of one’s life, asks you to ask yourself whether you’re bringing out — bringing out to God — the core issue of your inwardness. If you are like me, you’re probably not. In fact, the core issue of your life has become so habituated a part of you that it may not even occur to you to present it — “a living sacrifice” (BCP) — to God. You’ve been living with TNT buried inside you for so long that you’ve almost forgotten it’s there.

At the end of the episode, I tell a little story on myself, with which I hope you will resonate. And then there’s the matter of the final song, one of the most satisfying and positive of all top 40 singles.