"Take me to the place where your heart hurts most
Lead me through the dark world gates down there
Where all the ghosts of sorrow and pain
And fear and despair stay hiding
And well walk right through to our own way, our own place"
- from Take Me To The Place by Deacon Blue
I had an amazinge experience using this song in a Day Of Reflection event in 2012. June 21st, the longest day is when Northern Ireland takes time to remember those who were injured or lost loved ones in the Troubles. Invited to be part of an event I reached for this amazing pastoral song of Deacon Blue's. It was a b-side, not one of their best known songs and I was using it before their new album Hipsters put the band back in the limelight. After the event a woman asked to speak to me. She has lost her husband near the end of the Troubles. Loyalist paramilitaries walked into the printers that he was working in and shot him. He was not involved in The Troubles. He had been a Deacon Blue fan and on the way to the event we were at she had reached for a Deacon Blue CD as a way of remembering. When I played this she sensed that something beyond us was happening. It was moving for us both and a reminder to me how important music is in our healing.
Donald and Emily Saliers wrote a fascinating book together called A Song To Sing, A Life To Live. The fascination is that both of this father and daughter duo are musicians, Don a Professor of Theology and Music and Emily one half of the popular rock duo The Indigo Girls; thus bringing Saturday night and Sunday morning together in their ponderings. Sharing their own personal loss of Emily’s younger sister they write, “Music was one of our primary ways of coming to terms with her death.” I believe that one of the conduits for God’s comfort is lament. The Bible is full of it - angry, frustrated, painful. Songs of lament do something deep in our souls. They can drill to the nerve centre of our pain, somehow empathise, soothe and mysteriously be companions as we journey through dark days. As a pastor I often give friends or parishioners a song or some music that will be a resource through their grief.
Deacon Blue’s song Take Me To The Place is the most perfect catharsis song I have ever heard. It was written in memory and dedicated to Italian Scottish photographer Oscar Mazaroli. Growing up in Church writer Ricky Ross has a real sensitivity for such scared places and spaces and based the song on the hymn Abide With Me and the traditional melody “eventide.” It’s stunning poignancy in Ricky’s yearning breaking voice, Lorraine Macintosh’s angelic wail, the sorrowful stark piano, the words and the tune, opens doors to the soul and let’s out the raw ripped up heart pain and let’s in some healing holy balm and the daring and courageous almost alien thought of hopefulness and grace.