Every breath is a prayer

I think we all could use some inspiration and perhaps even some consolation during this strange time of COVID-19.

Many of Elton’s songs have those very effects on me…sometimes they feel like a much-needed hug from a friend. Sometimes they make me feel like I can do anything. Sometimes they bring hope…sometimes they bring forgiveness…a few even bring self awareness. And sometimes they just remind me how wonderful this world is that we live in.

[Warning: This post turned out much longer than I expected. My apologies. Brevity is not my forte. A link to the Spotify playlist is included at the bottom].

I’m Still Standing: I nominate this song as an anthem for the world when we come out the other end of this nightmare:

I’m still standing better than I ever did
Looking like a true survivor, feeling like a little kid
I’m still standing after all this time
Picking up the pieces of my life without you on my mind

Healing Hands: I’ve always found this song to be so uplifting. I love the gospel-ly tone and the backing vocals…I feel encouraged and a bit lighter of heart when I listen to it:

But giving into the nighttime
Ain’t no cure for the pain
You gotta wade into the water
You gotta learn to live again

Answer in the Sky: When I’ve come out of some of the darker times of my life, I’ll catch myself looking at the sky – or the sunlight glistening on palm fronds – or the ocean juxtaposed against the horizon – and everything all of a sudden seems clearer, brighter…and even more sanguine. A good reminder to just take it all in, breathe it all in…I could probably quote the whole song, but here’s a tiny snippet:

And if your heart is empty
And there’s no hope inside
There’s a chance you’ll find an answer in the sky

Border Song: Perhaps never in my lifetime has there been a tipping point like this, where we can (hopefully) learn something and spark positive change. If we get nothing else from this, we should at least realize that we’re all in this together.

Let us live in peace
Let us strive to find a way to make all hatred cease
There’s a man over there what’s his colour I don’t care
He’s my brother let us live in peace

Weight of the World: This song rings more and more true with each passing year. It’s like you get to a point in your life that you just say, “I’m done with the worrying. I’m done with trying to change things that I can’t change. Life’s too short.” Hopefully soon, we’ll be able to get back to feeling like this:

And the weight of the world is off my back
When we fell, we got up
And crawled out the cracks
Excuse me if I take some comfort in that
Happy today, happy to play
With the weight of the world off my back

Skyline Pigeon: For even in darkness, there is always hope:

For just a Skyline Pigeon
Dreaming of the open
Waiting for the day
He can spread his wings
And fly away again
Fly away skyline pigeon fly
Towards the dreams
You’ve left so very far behind

The Greatest Discovery: Pure, unadulterated childhood innocence and wonder:

In those silent happy seconds
That surround the sound of this event
A parent smile is made in moments
They have made for you a friend

Friends: An early classic…needed now more than ever:

Making friends for the world to see
Let the people know you got what you need
With a friend at hand you will see the light
If your friends are there then everything’s all right

Salvation: Wow, I haven’t thought about this song in a while…but it does hold special meaning right now…Reach out to your family, friends, colleagues, neighbors, and even strangers (at an appropriate social distance, of course):

I have to say my friends
This road goes a long, long way
And if we’re gonna find the end
We’re gonna need a helping hand

Simple Life: If only…

And I won’t break and I won’t bend
But someday soon we’ll sail away
To innocence and the bitter end
And I won’t break and I won’t bend
And with the last breath we ever take
We’re gonna get back to the simple life again

Blessed: For me, this song is about anticipation and bliss:

And you, you’ll be blessed
You’ll have the best
I promise you that
I’ll pick a star from the sky
Pull your name from a hat
I promise you that, promise you that, promise you that
You’ll be blessed

Believe: I’d be remiss if I left this one out of the list. The words may be simple, but they’re true:

I believe in love, it’s all we got
Love has no boundaries, costs nothing to touch

Live Like Horses: Kind of on the same lines as Skyline Pigeon, I’ve included this one because many of you have probably not heard it (especially the duet with Luciano Pavarotti). I just hope that when we do break free of this social isolation, that we don’t forget what’s really important:

Someday we’ll live like horses
Free rein from your old iron fences
There’s more ways than one to regain your senses
Break out the stalls and we’ll live like horses

If the River Can Bend: The background vocals for this song are done by the East London Gospel Choir, and they add such depth and exaltation to the words that Bernie so eloquently painted:

Come and embrace the struggle
But win or lose we live here
Build a new beginning on an old rock
Breathe deep of the sweet fresh air

All that I’m Allowed: Really, truly, I am thankful. Every day of my life. Especially right now when, even in self isolation, I have food, medical care, family, friends, and hope beyond hope for all of us:

And I’ve got all that I’m allowed
It’ll do for me, I’m thankful now
The walls get higher every day
The barriers get in the way
But I see hope in every cloud
And I’m thankful, thankful…
I’ve got all that I’m allowed

Too Many Tears: There’s that beautiful sky again, but I’m telling you, it works!

And everyone, everywhere
Take time and dry your eyes
‘Cause too many tears, too many tears
Have been cried
Just look into that beautiful blue
That beautiful blue, blue sky
And know too many tears, too many tears
Have been cried

The Bridge: Literally and figuratively. This one always makes me think about the choices that I’ve made or need to make. And boy, have we are all making some unexpected and sometimes very difficult choices these days:

And every one of us has to face that day
Do you cross the bridge or do you fade away
And every one of us that ever came to play
Has to cross the bridge or fade away

Recover your Soul: Hey, now, let’s use all of this unexpected time to recover each of our souls:

Spare your heart, save your soul
Don’t drag your love across the coals
Find your feet and your fortune can be told
Release, relax, let go
And hey now let’s recover your soul

In the Hands of Angels: This song holds extra special meaning to me. My sister Lisa will understand why I included this song in the list:

I was in the hands of angels
Until this very day
Inside the hands of angels
What more can I say

Blue Wonderful: Chosen not only because it is a beautiful song, but as the title of this post:

Every breath is a prayer of some kind
I breathe in, I breathe out, I just breathe
And you’re so well, Blue Wonderful
Blue Wonderful to me

So that’s my list…(I had actually included several more songs that I deleted as I was writing this, but you get the picture…over the years, I’ve been inspired, consoled, and even humbled by Elton’s music). I hope you find inspiration here, too.

Now I’m gonna give this new playlist a whirl on my appropriately socially-distanced walk around the neighborhood today.

What music inspires you? (And it doesn’t have to be Elton).