Frédéric Chopin
Associated Press
Frédéric Chopin

Slaying Chopin

Faith & Inspiration

I am in the process of slaying Chopin. To be specific, his “Nocturne Op. 9 No. 1 in B-flat minor.” I sit at the computer all afternoon and type to these transcendent strains, and when the piece is finished, I hit replay. And so it goes until I have a column written. I don’t know how long this can go on before Mr. Chopin joins the legion of my slain. Here is a partial list:

  • Verdi’s “La Forza del Destino.”
  • Theme from The Umbrellas of Cherbourg.
  • “Lara’s Theme” from Doctor Zhivago.
  • The Summer of ’42 (Main Theme).”
  • “Theme from Papillon.”
  • Pan’s Labyrinth Lullaby.”
  • Erik Satie’s “Gnossiennes No. 1, 3, 4, 5, and 6.
  • “’Round About Midnight.”
  •  Chopin’s “Nocturne in E-flat major Op. 9 No. 1.”

I loved them all, and I used them up, and I have now become incapable of hearing them as I heard them the first few times. Though I do not worship nature, I take to heart C.S. Lewis’ warnings about those who have attempted to do so, and partially feel their pain:

“Nature ‘dies’ on those who try to live for a love of nature. Coleridge ended by being insensible to her; Wordsworth, by lamenting that the glory had passed away. Say your prayers in a garden early, ignoring steadfastly the dew, the birds and the flowers, and you will come away overwhelmed by its freshness and joy; go there in order to be overwhelmed and, after a certain age, nine times out of ten nothing will happen to you” (The Four Loves).

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An inmate who years ago reached out to my incarcerated son perhaps gave an insight into the state of mind that led to his infractions when he wrote:

“I can cry to you in many tears to try to get you to understand. I never found true happiness, no not in many different drugs, drinks, sex, nothing could stay long enough. I always kept trying until I gave Christ my heart” (italics mine).

I believe all this is by the Lord’s design, that we should find no lasting satisfaction in any created thing—any nocturne, or field of heather, or ski-borne flight down the Alps—until the day that we shall find it all in Him.

Andrée Seu Peterson
Andrée Seu Peterson

Andrée is the author of three books: Won't Let You Go Unless You Bless Me, Normal Kingdom Business, and We Shall Have Spring Again.


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