My song today is ‘Truly’. This song is the title of the debut solo single by singer-songwriter Lionel Richie. Richie wrote the song and co-produced it with James Anthony Carmichael. Released after he left the Commodores, ‘Truly’ debuted on the ‘Billboard Hot 100’ on 9 October 1982 and climbed to Number 1 on 27 November 1982. It also spent four weeks at Number 1 on the ‘Adult Contemporary Chart’ and logged nine weeks at Number 2 on the ‘R&B’ chart. In addition, ‘Truly’ made the Top 10 in the United Kingdom, where the song peaked at Number 6. The song won a ‘Grammy Award’ for Richie in the ‘Best Male Pop Vocal Performance’ category.
The truest thing a person can ever be in this life is themselves. Shakespeare knew this when he placed the words in the mouth of his character Polonius when giving advice to his son Laertes on how to behave whilst at university: “ This above all, to thine own self be true. And it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.” Hamlet: Act 1: Scene 3: William Shakespeare Play.
Ask all the people in the next queue you pass, “What would you wish for if I could grant you one wish only?” and incorporated somewhere within all of their individual answers would be ‘happiness’. Unfortunately, we have been born into a materialistic society in the West, and we associate impoverishment with a lack of money. When anyone attaches themselves to money, position, property, or power, they can never be ‘truly’ happy.
If there is one good thing to come out of this tragic pandemic Covid-19 crisis we have spent the past eight months living through, it is the knowledge of what really matters in our lives does not cost us one penny. Hopefully, we have all come to understand the crucial importance of the freedoms we once took for granted like having visitors in our homes and visiting the homes of others.
Never again will any of us take for granted the welcome invitation of a simple handshake, and the closeness that a kiss and a hug symbolises to our friends and family. Never again shall we take for granted our restrictive attendance at those important functions in life we share with friends and family like the birth of our children, Christenings, First Communions, Confirmation, sport school days, Nativity plays, weddings, birthday and social gatherings, hospital visits, care home visits of our elderly.
Who among us could ever have imagined it being a precious freedom just to be able to say a final ’Goodbye’ by holding the hand of our loved ones on their death bed, and watching their coffin descend below the cemetery ground. Never again shall we regard going out to a dance, for a meal, or calling into the local pub as being ’just another social event in my calendar of engagements. We will be able to mingle, chat, and gossip in groups of more than six, if we chose. Gone from our language will be that common phrase, “I am ‘just’ going out for a walk, dear”, especially those of us whose vulnerable health condition has kept us inside the house.
We will come to cherish the experience of being able to safely mix and mingle in larger crowds to commemorate special occasions, watch football from the stands, attend the cenotaph in reverence on Armistice Sunday to pay our respect to our fallen heroes of previous wars, walk in the woods and across the moorlands, and breathe in the pure fresh air instead of the Coronavirus! Perhaps we will all emerge better people from these restrictive times we have been obliged to live through and ‘truly’ come to appreciate what really matters to us in our daily lives.
Finally, I will end today’s post with one of my mother’s beliefs that she never abandoned. I always knew that she loved me because she told me so every day of my life, and she never stopped reminding me or believing in me. She taught me that when you stop following your dreams, you stop living in hope of a better and happier tomorrow ever dawning. “To live your life fully, Billy” my mum used to tell me, ‘you need to be glad to be alive and to always give thanks to God for your journey through each day”.
I have heard many people in my lifetime pose the question as to whether such a thing as ‘love’ truly exists, or ask if is it a construct of our imaginations to justify and rationalise the human experience of being closely bonded with another. I know that ‘love’ truly exists because I believe that not one of us would have ever existed without its presence in heaven above or on the earth beneath the sky. I believe that none of us would ever have been born, and the world as we know it would never have existed had the love of God not created it and made human birth and all earth-life possible. All my childhood, I lived in the constant presence and reach of ‘love’. All I needed to do to touch love was to grab hold of my mother's apron strings. All I need to do today to touch love is to reach out, as it surrounds me wherever I am and is within every wholesome person I meet. Mum died many years ago but what she taught me was that love never dies and that it thrives and multiplies in all like-minded people with open hearts.
My mother was ‘truly’ my first embodiment of unqualified ‘love’. She taught me that ‘love’, will always remain little more than a word until someone significant comes into our life and gives it meaning and purpose for its wonderful existence’. My mother was my first embodiment of love and my wife, Sheila, shall remain my lasting embodiment of this most powerful emotion of all.
Love and peace Bill xxx