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Stories of Lives Liberated

In This Shadowland

I will be the death of me.” This phrase echoed in my head for days. It came first in the midst of my pondering music to prepare for a house-concert that my roommates and I were hosting. I was seeking inspiration to write a “call and response” type song, one reminiscent of an of old spiritual. I wanted to find a specific “response” that would answer each of my “calls.”

I will be the death of me.” The phrase persisted. I concluded that the sentiment  was an acknowledgment of my imminent departure from this life and an acknowledgment of my inclination toward unhealthy habits that only served to hasten this. Then, the movie “Get Low” came to mind. Both enlightening and heart-breaking, the movie follows the planning of a funeral for an eccentric and burdened old man who decides to face his past mistakes and to prepare for death.

Lay me in the ground,” a thought I thought seemed more appropriately suited for a response. I began pulling together lines for the call, viewing the entirety of life as overshadowed by death. I quickly hit a poetic wall; this phrase required a specific grammatically-structured call that was unsatisfying to sing. I discarded that phrase and continued my inquiry until, finally, my mind settled on an allegory in C.S. Lewis’ “The Last Battle.”

The book moved me now, at 30, more than it had when I was in my early teens. The last page of the book speaks a veritable hymn to a new creation; it moved me. I found the response I sought, the proclamation that life in this world is quickly passing and exists as a mere shadow of the reality that is to come, the truth that lasts beyond this life:

“Let us see beyond the haze – in this shadowland
Let us number our few days – in this shadowland
Let us walk as pilgrims do – in this shadowland
That holy city always in our view – in this shadowland” 

Kurt Larson is inclined to writing out words and music as a way of wrestling with and growing in understanding of truth. He tends toward melancholy and introspection, and is thus grateful for the palette of personalities of his friends and family to help him better understand life. As much as Kurt enjoys the exhilaration of music, he is deeply grateful for the peace of early mornings and quiet evenings and groves of trees.

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