Time Gets Away From Us

“To redeem the lost.” That line occurs on the very first page of Patti Smith’s melancholic M Train as a reason for why we write. I underlined the phrase when I first read the book last fall. I was charmed by it again when I opened the book last night to begin a second trip on the Train. For what its worth, I agree with Smith’s rationale.

But before I pulled that book from my shelf, I caught the second half of True Grit, the Coen brothers remake that lopes along atop a Carter Burwell score. I had forgotten how much I love that movie. You could say it had become lost to my mind, and that would be a fair thing to say. I watched again as Mattie fell into the snake pit, and a snake did what snakes often do. And then as Rooster, with Mattie cradled in his arms, rides Little Blackie as hard as he can in the direction of someone that might be able to save her. It’s the dead of night, you can hardly see anything save the stars. About the only sound is a horse’s locomotive breathing, in and out and in and out. Finally Little Blackie has nothing left to give, and falls. It is then that Rooster re-cradles Mattie and begins to run in the way a one-eyed fat man would run carrying someone he loves who he fears he might lose. Again, the scenes are dark, about the only thing you can detect is Rooster’s labored breathing. He calls upon a lost grit, and there is redemption. From the start of that sequence to its conclusion, the song “Hold To God’s Unchanging Hand” builds and then crests in a gentle climax. The weight of it all was almost too much for me to bear.

Then, not long after those scenes, the film ends, and as credits roll, Iris DeMent’s unmistakable voice sings “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms.” And I could bear it no more. Tears fell.

I’ve not written in this space in quite some time. I wouldn’t say the world has missed me, but a few of you have for you’ve told me so. Notes like “You’re quiet. Is everything okay?” and “I miss your voice.” Those notes mean more than you’ll ever know. I’m no pro when it comes to self-awareness, but I’m fair, and I feel like I’ve lost some pieces of myself over the past few months. Not due to some tragedy because nothing like that has happened. No, I’d chalk it up to plain old life, and the passing of time. You simply forget some things or misplace them or possibly even doubt aspects of yourself you once held firm. Maybe coming back to this space and writing a little more often will help me remember, help me redeem some of what I think at least I’ve lost. Because yes, time gets away from us.

I won’t promise to write here every day or anything like that. But it’ll be every so often. Maybe all you’ll be able to detect is the faint, labored breathing of an astigmatic-eyed older man running under dark starred skies cradling that which he loves, remembering, redeeming, and holding fast to God’s unchanging hand.

 

 

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35 Comments

  1. Lavonne Glanville on September 15, 2018 at 8:13 am

    Thank you for speaking once again. I have missed your poetry and prose very much! Let us hear from you again, and again.

  2. Abby on September 15, 2018 at 8:14 am

    So so glad to hear from you. Always

  3. Heather Kopp on September 15, 2018 at 8:22 am

    John,
    Thank you. Your words resonate so deeply today. I too am running in the dark for help, and it’s too late for what I carry. But the running is the act of reaching for redemption, right? And so maybe what I carry is myself after all. You’re words have always touched me so much. Keep writing when it saves you as that is when it saves us too. Heather

  4. Joyce Rempel on September 15, 2018 at 8:26 am

    The more we age the more true grit we need. And each other, spurring us on.

  5. Shepard on September 15, 2018 at 8:29 am

    Yeah! You’re back!

  6. Sallie on September 15, 2018 at 8:32 am

    Grateful, so grateful, for how you stir this oft-silent poet’s heart. Thank you for returning.

  7. Cherry Odelberg on September 15, 2018 at 8:44 am

    Wow! Thank you.

  8. Gretchen on September 15, 2018 at 8:51 am

    You’ll find it odd perhaps to hear this from oversharing me, but sometimes I think our quiet seasons fuel the wordier ones. Reading this was a lovely treat. Thanks, PB.

  9. Diana Trautwein on September 15, 2018 at 8:56 am

    Always grateful to hear from you. Always.

  10. paula jones on September 15, 2018 at 8:57 am

    You will never know how much I needed this. I too have lost a piece of myself, not due to a personal tragedy but due to life in general, an American church that is disappointing me, and what I consider to be a national tragedy. I’ve been trying to crawl back into life again, but it’s that proverbial one crawl ahead, two crawls behind. I was recently reminded that even though the church will disappoint, God never will––and THAT is the unchanging Truth I must hold on to as I plod on. THANK YOU.

  11. JANE WILLIAMS on September 15, 2018 at 9:44 am

    Your voice is needed, John. Your words, your poetic insight, your vulnerability and transparency, your authenticity… your every day kind of “nothing special” thinking … Yes, you were missed. Truly.

  12. Evan Welcher on September 15, 2018 at 9:48 am

    Amen.

  13. Marilyn on September 15, 2018 at 9:49 am

    Poetry again here, this post.

    p.s. Thx for the Leif Enger recommendation.

  14. Jacky on September 15, 2018 at 9:49 am

    Yours is the first email I’ve read this morning and perhaps the only one I’ll open this Sabbath … as it seems enough … more than. Your words lifted me right off the screen. And yes. I’ve wondered too, where is John Blasé? Thank you for answering. Welcome back.

  15. Christine Perica on September 15, 2018 at 9:52 am

    I am in the same place, but have been missing your voice. This post put words to my experience the first half of 2018. Thank you as always.

  16. Renee on September 15, 2018 at 9:53 am

    Thank you for posting. I have missed your writing!

  17. Suzanne on September 15, 2018 at 9:57 am

    A beautiful sharing of your heart. Thank you.

  18. Debi on September 15, 2018 at 10:14 am

    Yes, your writing is missed. Redeem the lost. DebDays.wordpress.com

  19. Mary Liz Kehoe on September 15, 2018 at 11:06 am

    Good to read your words again….being the same age as my son…and feeling him distancing himself from his parents….I was aware….

  20. Carol Vinson on September 15, 2018 at 11:10 am

    Always a good day when your words grace our lives.

  21. Annie B on September 15, 2018 at 11:31 am

    A year full of pain and a country so frightening and sad. Looking for hope. Your voice helps. Thank you.

  22. Susan Awes on September 15, 2018 at 11:39 am

    Add me to those who’ve missed you. Interesting that another friend mentioned Leif Enger – and it occurred to me for the first time that Blase and Enger seem like brothers to me.

  23. Alia Joy on September 15, 2018 at 1:33 pm

    I’ll take what words I can get from you on Twitter but I missed your writing too. Grateful.

  24. Mary Jane Horst on September 15, 2018 at 1:54 pm

    Just this week I wondered what happened to the The Beautiful Due. Grateful to hear from you.

  25. Robin on September 15, 2018 at 3:02 pm

    I really do not like to leave comments these days, but I need to write and let you know that I have missed your voice. I found myself thinking just a few days ago, I wonder what has happened to John. Thanks for posting your thoughts and mentioning “the M Train.” I am almost half way through. There is much to ponder.

  26. Katherine Sleadd on September 15, 2018 at 4:12 pm

    Thank you for writing. Your words help me find grit that I often feel I’ve lost. I do hope everyday when I check my email that perhaps they’ll be a post from John Blase in the inbox. My faith is renewed.

  27. Helen Williams on September 15, 2018 at 6:42 pm

    Good to hear your voice again.

  28. Leah on September 15, 2018 at 7:42 pm

    I’ve really missed hearing from you here and on Facebook. This was a blessing

  29. Dena G on September 15, 2018 at 10:07 pm

    Goodness, I’ve missed your voice. And your words today were just what I needed to hear. Thank you.

  30. Jessica on September 16, 2018 at 8:45 am

    It’s good to hear you back here.

  31. Pearl on September 16, 2018 at 2:12 pm

    I’m new here and new to John Blase. You have such a nice, comfortable way with words. I’m a big fan.

  32. Angela on September 16, 2018 at 6:47 pm

    Thanks for coming back to this space. Your words are welcome.

  33. Ruth Brown on September 17, 2018 at 12:10 am

    Good to ‘have you back’, John. My sister and I just commented a few days ago that we missed your blog. Yes, life tends to get ‘lifey’, and time passes…

  34. Neil on September 17, 2018 at 5:07 pm

    I hadn’t realized until I saw you name pop up again…how much I had missed your thoughts and writings. Thanks for continuing to be a model of vulnerability and honesty. You are appreciated.

  35. Darcy Hansen on September 19, 2018 at 10:44 am

    Your voice has been missed. The way you weave words into the fibers of life make the tears flow free and true from my weary eyes and worn thin heart. Thank you. I’ve been camping in The Jubilee lately. Sitting with the simple complexity of your poems helps ma make sense of this world. Again, thank you.

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