I updated this to include Bono’s full rap at the bottom…
So I happened to watch Saturday Night Live this past Saturday. It was the kick-off show for this season. And with U2 being the musical guest, how could I not watch?
They performed Breathe, Moment of Surrender and Ultraviolet. Apparently off air they also performed With or Without You for the crowd. They are generous with their time. I found it odd they didn’t perform their latest single I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight but hey, their call!
I was particularly taken with the performance of Moment of Surrender. I love this song despite the fact that it took me a long time to get into it fully. Started out liking it, now I love it. And I think it is a great way to close the concerts on their current tour.
If you want to see their SNL performances, go here and scroll down about half way… http://www.topmusicablog.com/post/1003/u2-en-directo-en-saturday-night-live-breather-moments-of-surrender-y-ultraviolet
What struck me about the performance of Moment of Surrender was Bono’s decision to rap at different points of the song. The first rap was a meaningless plug to New York and the show. The second was much deeper and both surprised and hit me.
Two lines in particular were of interest. The first one was ‘God is the mirror in which each man sees himself’. And the second was ‘Hell is a place where you don’t need anyone’s help’. Both of these opened up ideas I felt the need to explore.
God is the mirror. My issues with religion are well documented. That said, I feel like I am a spiritual person at the same time. That may not make much sense to some. I am not a believer in the bible or that particular version of God. But I do feel that people have a certain spirit. Some people are positive in spirit, others negative. I’m not saying this is my version of God. Just that everyone has a kind of energy that shows.
In that, the concept of being made in God’s image implies that God is in us. Again, that’s the bible version but I think it has a place in what I feel we are all made of. If God is a mirror, I think the view we carry of ourselves defines how we present ourselves to the world. And I can easily transport that to mean we define ourselves and how we see ourselves is how the world sees us.
If I am a negative person, have a hard time accepting my place in the world, feel the world does not look kindly upon me, it shows in who I am and how I present myself. And the opposition of that…I am a positive person and I accept my place in the world order, people will recognize that energy.
Naturally there are a billion subsets of that which make up humanity. We are all different. We all have different stories. We’ve all had varying levels of joys and varying levels of issues. We are unique.
And in order for God to our mirror, it implies an honest evaluation. It implies when we look in the mirror we see ourselves for who we are. And let’s face it, people suck at self definition. We like to kid ourselves, sometimes flat out lie to ourselves and that all comes across in one way or another.
So let’s say I define the God mirror as the one that requires us to see ourselves for who we really are. Not a bad concept. We all need to spend more time with who we are and decide if that’s the person we want to be.
Which leads to the second line Bono said…about hell being the place where you don’t need help.
Why do I love this line? Because I see this daily. The pain of people who think they can get by without asking for help. They don’t ask for all sorts of reasons but the main one is judgement. We all fear being judged. And sometimes that prevents us from getting what we need. Situations deteriorate farther and farther because we fear what will be thought.
It’s a lesson learned a long time ago from someone who showed me that strength is defined by weakness. Our weaknesses and our ability to recognize them, our ability to tell people about them, is the ultimate strength.
If you lose your job, do you wait until you lose everything to get help? Or do you come forward, say what’s happening and do what you can to minimize the damage? I know from experience, pride is not your friend. Or what about if you suspect your spouse is cheating. Are you honest or do you hide your head and hope it goes away?
Hell is truly being alone. Unable to be honest. Limited by fear of judgement and consequences. Unable to ask. Unable to face. One of the hardest lessons of life is knowing when to set aside pride and prejudice and lean on others. It shouldn’t be that hard. But the world is not set up for us to take care of each other.
I grew up in a neighbourhood and I knew almost all our neighbours for blocks around the area. People were there for each other. We didn’t spend weeks in front of the tv. We were outside and we interacted. I will go on about this another day but these days the obvious point is we barely know anyone by face. I don’t know my neighbours nearly as well as I should. But they don’t know me either and they don’t try very hard either.
I know this is not true for everyone, everywhere. But I know it’s true enough based on most people I know.
The great oppositions of life’s reality apply. In looking at ourselves, we often lie to the person we should be most honest with, ourselves. But that reality comes out and is seen whether we like it or not. As well, we can see that true strength comes from acknowledging our weaknesses. Hell is being alone, facing the daunting issues of life alone. And we can only really move forward as human beings in that moment of surrender. When we realize who we really are and that we need others, need help. Facing it alone is both needless and wrong.
Here’s the full rap:
So life is short
The longest thing you’ll ever do
The worst, the curse was that your dreams came true
God is a mirror in which each man sees himself
Hell is a place where you don’t need anyone’s help
When I first met you your face was like snow
Wherever I went is where you wanted to go
Your face, your grace, your can of mace
In a case that you put your face down
Age 17, on the ground
Your faith in the clown
Don’t leave me now, don’t leave me now
Don’t leave me now alone in the song
Don’t leave me alone in the song