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).
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.