Purgatory (Resurrected)

Easter Sunday. Whether you're religious or not, this is considered by many to be a time of rebirth and renewal, and of excitement for brighter days ahead. Yet this year, as humanity fights a planet-wide battle against our common enemy known as COVID-19, it's easy to instead feel afraid, vulnerable, and alone. We know we'll get through this crisis, eventually. But we also know that too many will die, and many more will suffer lasting damage along the way. We try to stay positive, productive, and calm. We try to count our blessings and take nothing for granted. But it's hard not to also feel despair. We watch with grim resignation as hospitals flood with victims and we are forced to shelter in place. We sit helplessly as millions are suddenly thrown out of work, with no idea of when they'll again see a steady paycheck. Those of us lucky enough to still have our health and our jobs know that despite all our precautions and efforts, any one of us could be next. And we wonder when or if things will ever return to "normal".

This may seem cold comfort, but with these somber reflections in mind I can't help but think of our song Purgatory (Resurrected) as a somewhat fitting and strangely soothing tune for this particular moment. (Link and lyrics below.) When I first wrote it many years ago, I was in a dark place. In hindsight, however, whatever I faced back then now seems inconsequential, almost silly. As the coronavirus tears through our present world, it has rapidly brought into sharp relief what is most important: Reasonably good health. Family and friends (even at a safe distance). Food and shelter. Enough money and community support to get by. Doctors, nurses, and first responders. Store clerks and restaurant workers. Occasional fresh air and sunshine. A creative outlet now and then.

I've almost always had all of this available to me. I haven't always appreciated it. My hope for a silver lining coming out of this prolonged period of loss and suffering: A new and lasting sense of gratitude for all that we've been given, and an unyielding faith that together we can overcome any challenge.

Stay safe and well, friends.




You have to go through hell before you get to heaven
I'm crawling through there now and I'm barely alive

Please let me in, I need a rest, I’ll tell you some stories 
Let me crawl inside, I need a place to hide 

Lock the doors, 
Dim the lights, 
Pull the shades down tight 

I won’t bite if you don’t bite, let’s huddle together 
We’ll make it through, I swear it’s true, it’s just for a while 

Take my hand, close your eyes 
Hold your breath, count to ten 
Here they come, with their knives 
They’re gonna feed on your insides 
You can run but you can’t hide 
They’re gonna find you day or night 
Feel your head, swallow your pride 
If you’re not dead you’ll be alright 

The pain is gone, now take a breath, 
and let’s whisper softly 
Tell me you’re afraid and I will tell you the same 

I’ll say 
it’s hard sometimes to be alive 
and we don’t know when the pain will go 
If you’re like me 
you’re always alone 
and clinging to a dangling rope 

So let me in, I’m burning sin 
it may not be pleasant 
But you have to go through hell before you get to heaven


Purgatory (Resurrected) single cover artwork, published Oct. 2019. Painting by Patrick Neary.

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