Sunday, October 12, 2008

Unpredictable people

One of the many jaw-dropping, spine-tingling moments on Mercury Rev's Snowflake Midnight is where Jonathan sings in his faltering falsetto: 'Life is uncertain and people are so... Unpredictable'. There's a wonderful hanging pause after 'so' before each syllable of un-pre-dict-able is sounded out. I feel a shudder of joy and hope every time I hear it.

It's a poignant commentary on so much of our experience. Life is truly uncertain. The credit crunch has thrown the precarious nature of our economy into stark relief, we've all heard stories of healthy and good people suddenly overtaken by illness and death.

Jonathan is right - life is uncertain. But the tone of voice with which he sings 'people are so unpredictable' suggests that in the uncertainty of life, some people come good, do good, are there for those that need them, unexpectedly offering hope in despair, light in the darkness. We think they'll act one way, but people are so unpredictable - often they act in unexpected and life-bringing ways.

The song ends with him singing 'there's no bliss like home'; nothing feels like that moment when in life's uncertainty, someone has helped us feel as though we belong, we can cope, we have a future.

Today, we could be the unpredictable people to our neighbours, offering acts of kindness to those under pressure, standing with those who who feel lost and frightened in the midst of the turmoil on the money markets, wondering what the future holds. We could be people who bring them unpredictable blessing, the bliss of a touch of acceptance and friendship.

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