The song was written in 1985 by American singer-songwriter, Julie Gold. Nancy Griffith was the first to record the song for her 1987 album, ‘Lone Star State of Mind’.
The song was covered a number of times, with the most successful being a version by Bette Midler which became a major hit in 1990. With regard to the song’s interpretation, Julie Gold has stated that she believes in an imminent and beneficent God, and also thinks that people have a right to interpret the song any way they want, as with all art. She has stated that the song is about the difference between how things appear to be and how they really are.
The song became an international commercial success after it was recorded in 1990 by Bette Midler for the album ‘Some People’s lives’. ’From a Distance’ reached Number 1 on the ‘Adult Contemporary’ chart and peaked at number two on the ‘Billboard Hot 100’. The song went on to win a Grammy for ‘Song of The Year’ in 1991. The song also won a ‘3 Million Airs Award’ from ‘Broadcast Music Incorporated’.
Today’s song is dedicated to my Facebook friend, Joseph Newns on this holiest of days in the Christian churches’ Calendar, Easter Sunday. Joseph is a far better man than I am or could ever hope to be, and whereas I feel able to view emotional events ‘from a distance’, Joseph’s feelings and emotions place him closer to the shared experience, thereby making my experience less painful than his.
How this distinguishes us both can best be described in terms of ‘closeness’ and ‘identification/empathy’ and ‘the degree of pain felt’. I strongly suspect that because Joseph literally feels the pain of other’s suffering more than I do, he is automatically closer to the ‘Cross of Christ’ than I will ever be. For anyone thinking that I am being less charitable to my own character than I ought to be, please believe me when I say I know I am ‘a good man’, but I also have the eyes, heart and soul to know when I am in the presence of ‘a better man’.
We cannot be close to God without identifying with the pain and suffering that so many people experience across the world, but therein lies the distinction between empathy and shared pain. Also, there is no point in being close to one’s God unless one can feel the warmth and unqualified love that pours forth from His sacred heart.
In the Bible, I always feel that Joseph gets far less of a mention than he deserves. Whereas Mary was appointed the Mother of Jesus Christ, to the best of my understanding, there is nothing written to suggest that there was anything pre-ordained about choosing Joseph as her husband and the Step-Father to Jesus. Joseph played his part in the life of Jesus over 2000 years ago, just as my dear friend Joseph Newns plays his part in promoting the thoughts and actions of Jesus Christ today and every day. I feel doubly blessed to call Joseph my friend.
Have a happy Easter everyone, especially Joseph and all his family.
Love and peace Bill xxx