Mister Rock Of Ages

Mister Rock of Ages you got 
time on you hands
Got no worries, got no plans
Bless my soul now you're
doin' fine, you ain't got
no axe to grind

Rock of Ages tell me where
does it stand. Are we bound
for the promised land
Bless my soul, I ain't ready
to die and my future is in 
your hands

Mister Rock of Ages you've
been goin' on strong since
time began, til time is done
And so the tide shall run

Mister Rock of Ages tell me 
what do you see
Are we bound for eternity
Bless my soul, baby you're 
doin' fine. You ain't got 
no axe to grind
    ~Gordon Lightfoot~

Recollections & Forgiveness

The past is what it is—a collection of moments dispatched to a place where memories grow like mushrooms. We all carry around remnants from other times and places—whispers that echo down through the years.

There are deep recesses within that house yesterday’s newsreels and snapshots. It’s exactly the same for everyone on planet earth: Good snippets are shelved along with the bad—fair and foul recollections coexist side by side.

The choice as to what to do with the gallery of memory is always ours to make. Some stay balanced by dealing with the bad stuff in a healthy manner—they put brokenness and bitterness behind them to move forward in grit and grace.

Others are forever fixated on the negative because they enjoy playing the victim—or they possess a false hope that current circumstances can be changed by repairing the past. In this they are tragically mistaken.

What’s done is done—the past cannot be adjusted or fixed. Those who continually sort through the garbage are destined to treadmill their way through life experiencing one self-inflated drama after another.

We all have emotional wreckage rattling around within. Here’s wisdom gleaned from experience: Those pieces from bygone days that produce smiles are to be treasured—we should nurture every one that makes us warm and fuzzy. However, those fragments that are hurtful should remain untouched. Nothing is ever gained in picking at scars to transform them into scabs that ooze poisonous pus.

The need for inner healing is an ever-present reality. Forgiveness is the key that releases the supernatural balm which results in ongoing restoration and spiritual equilibrium. There’s nothing magic about forgiveness, but there’s definitely something mysterious in how it works. Forgiveness has redemptive power. It can transform situations and perspectives. Forgiveness can radically alter the human heart because it is rooted in the immutable character of God—the One who Canadian singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot referred to as Mister Rock Of Ages.

We all want forgiveness but giving it is a whole other matter, but not really. Like it or not—comprehend it or not—forgiveness is a quid pro quo deal. A first-century carpenter was transparently clear about the issue.

Jesus of Nazareth tied an unbreakable knot around receiving forgiveness and our willingness to grant forgiveness. While teaching about prayer he said, “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”

If that’s at all ambiguous or murky, consider how Eugene Peterson renders these verses in The Message: “In prayer there is a connection between what God does and what you do. You can't get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God's part.”

The onus is always on the individual—no one can escape that reality. To realize the redemptive hope of forgiveness and live in its health-giving wholeness, one must freely give forgiveness.

Rock of Ages you've got 
nothing to hide. Got no ego, 
got no pride
Bless my soul, let me do 
what I can for my future is
in your hands

Mister Rock of Ages, the lord
of my lease. In times of toil
and times of peace until my 
song shall cease

Mister Rock of Ages, I'm part 
of you now. I am yours, you
belong to me
Bless my soul, let me do 
what I can for my future is
in your hands
    ~Gordon Lightfoot~

Gratitude & Purpose

Gordon Lightfoot's Dream Street Rose was released by Warner Brothers in 1980. I snapped it up hot off the press merely because I happened to drop into Records On Wheels on Queen Street in Sault Ste. Marie the day it arrived.

I hadn’t discovered Lightfoot on my own—my sister Janice was bonkers about him, and made sure everyone was aware of his songs. In an aside shout out—Janice happens to turn thirty-nine for the twenty-first time this week. I am mathematically challenged, but I’m fairly certain that when those numbers are added together, she just hit the BIG 60.

But I digress. As I recall, upon first hearing Dream Street Rose way back then, I wasn’t too thrilled with Mister Rock Of Ages, the ninth cut on the album—it got under my skin because it stirred up matters of the heart. There was lots of junk floating around inside me—I was in a downward spiral of self-destruction.

I wanted nothing to do with God—I needed no reminders of his goodness or sovereignty, but was ambushed by the lyrics of a song. The rhythm and rhyme of Mister Rock Of Ages caught my attention—the phrasing and focused imagery hammered my conscience. A pounding conviction came out of nowhere to nail me down and force me to confront the churning chaos of my not so quiet desperation.

I was in the midst of a persistent lost weekend, and it’d take years for me to discover a way out. Brokenness was in me and I didn’t even know it—I was entirely unaware that interior gashes and gouges suffered in adolescence were seeping toxins that distorted my perspective and attitude. With a nod to Hank Williams, Jr. I was whiskey bent and hell bound.

Messed up bigtime I had issues with God—I was mad-dog angry with him. I routinely cussed him out—I wanted to be left alone to stew and grouse while repeatedly tearing open the never to be forgotten wounds. God was at fault, and I had no intention of ever forgiving him.

It was so much more satisfying to endlessly rehash the wrongs of the past. There was a misguided madness in me—the ashes of yesterday were constantly and systematically sifted through to determine the magnitude of God’s offenses. Doing so provided the necessary excuse for me to never have to take responsibility for the state of my life.

One can never know what the Creator will use to plant seeds—he is perpetually in the business of sowing mercy and acceptance. There must have been a sliver of good soil in my heart because while spinning Dream Street Rose on the turntable I found myself replaying Mister Rock Of Ages. It somehow softened me and got me meditating about the stuff of eternity: Mister Rock of Ages, the lord of my lease, in times of toil and times of peace, until my song shall cease.

It was a tiny, even minuscule beginning, but it moved me along a path which would ultimately take me to the end of myself. God, in his majestic grace, was tracking me down. He found me at my point of need—his love lifted me with an unrestrained fierceness. Now, decades later, on solid footings of faith, the wonder of the adventure is truly amazing.

As a recipient and beneficiary of everlasting forgiveness, God continues to be at work in and around me. Yesterday is gone. Today is an endless opportunity to make a difference. Tomorrow waits to be seized. Day by day I endeavor to live in gratitude and purpose, fueled by the marvelous joys of the journey.

Bless my soul, let me do what I can, for my future is in your hands. . .

More by this Author

  • Pontius Pilate: Pawn Or Gutless Wonder
    44

    This essay explores the life and motives of Pontius Pilate, who after rendering his verdict, infamously washed his hands. It's interesting and raises thought-provoking questions about the man.

  • God's Bull's-eye
    45

    God has a mark for each of us to hit. This essay explores that from the context of Scripture. It offers much encouragement to be courageous and proceed forward in the process of discipleship.

  • Daring Adventure Or Nothing
    13

    Helen Keller overcame tremendous disabilities to live a life that was a daring adventure. This essay is an inspirational look at her life, and presents lessons we can learn and apply.


Comments 10 comments

Goodnex David profile image

Goodnex David 5 years ago

A great and beautiful hub to start the day with. You know sometimes, there will be a seemly good reason not to forgive and when if we refuse to point to the hand behind the situation which a previlege for growth, we'll find ourselve backpacking lifelong hurtful experiences and treading the path of sucidal end. Yet I love the Bible for its frankness in handling our choices, as forgiveness is a choice we are to make daily. If you forgive men of their sins, your heavenly father will also forgive you. GBU you Ken...


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 5 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

Goodnex David - Thank you. I appreciate your thoughtful comments. Blessings.


JANICE 5 years ago

THANKYOU KEN AS USUAL YOU HAVE WRITTEN ANOTHER BEAUTIFUL ARTICLE. I REMEMBER ALL THE STRUGGLES

IN YOUR LIFE AND HOW HARD YOU WORKED TO OVERCOME THEM.

LIFE IS A DAILY STRUGGLE. AS MOM ALWAYS TOLD US.

"YOUR FOOTPRINTS LIE BEFORE YOU, LIKE A PATH OF DRIVEN SNOW,

BE CAREFULL HOW YOU TRED THEM, FOR EVERY MARK WILL SHOW.

I THINK OF THAT ALL THE TIME. AND LEARN SOMETHING NEW FROM IT ALL THE TIME. MISS YOU AND CAN'T WAIT TO SEE YOU AT CHRISTMAS


Dave Mathews profile image

Dave Mathews 5 years ago from NORTH YORK,ONTARIO,CANADA

Ken my brother: What a marvellous way for my day to begin. Thank you. The past is the past, but the past is also one of our greatest teachers for we can look back at the good and the bad in our past and draw from both as reminders for ourselves and teachings that we can pass on to others.


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 5 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

You're welcome, Janice. Thanks.


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 5 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

Dave - You're welcome. Thanks for your good words.


sheilanewton profile image

sheilanewton 4 years ago from North Shields, UK

So nice of you to share something of yourself with your fellow hubbers. You tell this in such a beautiful way. I read every wonderful word with relish. It's a bit of a masterpiece, Ken. Maybe you should think about writing a memoir.


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 4 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

sheilanewton - Thank you for your kind & generous words. It is much appreciated. I have written a memoir of sorts. It's called "An Ordinary Story of Extraordinary Hope", & is available on Amazon.


sjwigglywoo profile image

sjwigglywoo 4 years ago from UK

A very insightful hub and we can all probably relate to it. I know I can. Great Vote up!


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 4 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

sjwigglywoo - Thank you.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working