I Will Survive
The Breakup Song as
When undergoing the heartache of a breakup,
the pop song can function as a spiritual friend.
The song gives you a sense that somebody understands.
Somebody has felt what you feel. You are not alone.
Imagine the Holy One as an Eternal Companion,
everywhere at once, who likewise feels
and understands your feelings.
This is what Open Horizons (process) theologians believe.
They believe God is a spacious heart: a fellow sufferer who understands.
If there is wisdom in this, then there is divine companionship in the pop song.
God listens with you, sharing in your heartache, through its lyrics and melodies.
The song isn't just sacred text; it's a spiritual friend.
Listen as long as you need. And then let go.
Candidates for Spiritual Friendship
if you're in the middle of a breakup
If You Are Over Fifty: Try Roy Orbison or Patsy Cline
As note above, When you have a broken heart, it helps to have someone who will listen and understand. You may believe, along with process theologians, that our world is enfolded by an eternal companion who feels are feelings and understands. And you may have someone you can talk to, who will hear you out and share in your feelings. You may have a spiritual friend. But in the absence of that person or belief, or even in the presence, it can also help to have a song – a breakup song – gives you a sense that someone understands. This someone is exactly the singer as a human being; but the singer as narrator. In the song itself you sense that you are not alone. When this happens, the song becomes a source of comfort and consolation. The song becomes, in its way, your spiritual friend. For a certain generation, Roy Orbison (1936-1988) was among those spiritual friends. The singers can change with each new generation, but the comfort remains the same. (Jay McDaniel)
Regardless of your age, if you've ever suffered the loneliness and inconsolable heartache that often accompany the wrong end of a bad breakup, you probably understand the impulse to seek refuge in the alternate reality of dreams. There is no better tour guide for that trip than Roy Orbison. The tormented narrative of his 1963 hit "In Dreams" veers unsettlingly between melancholy teenage romance and morbid adult obsession. Adrift in a sea of errant hormones at a junior-high dance may not have been the ideal place to comprehend the vulnerability and acceptance in that song. Hearing his distinctive, plaintive voice sing, "I can't help it! I can't help it!" meant recognizing the real possibility that neither could you. Echoes of ranchera music offer bittersweet counterpoint from the lulling intro, through the aching verses to a finish that just seems to evaporate.
Crying" doesn't mess around: It takes all of 35 seconds to unfurl its first iteration of that unforgettable "cry-y-y-y-ing" in the chorus. But Roy Orbison wasn't one to unload his full arsenal at the first opportunity to hit a gigantic power note: His voice was so gorgeous, he knew it would hold your interest while he slowly and subtly revved up his engines. From the very beginning, "Crying" is a masterpiece of building up to a grand payoff — just past the song's halfway point, he's already teasing the big, big, big moment at the end; the one everyone knows is coming. And, sure enough, those powerhouse notes are mind-blowing in their purity and grandeur. But what separates Orbison from so many other multi-octave-spanning power singers is that he can hit the biggest notes imaginable and still sound unspeakably sad at the same time. All his vocal gymnastics were just a means to a powerful end, not a mission unto themselves. Roy Orbison didn't just sing beautifully — he sang brokenheartedly. — just past the song's halfway point, he's already teasing the big, big, big moment at the end; the one everyone knows is coming. And, sure enough, those powerhouse notes are mind-blowing in their purity and grandeur. But what separates Orbison from so many other multi-octave-spanning power singers is that he can hit the biggest notes imaginable and still soundunspeakably sad at the same time. All his vocal gymnastics were just a means to a powerful end, not a mission unto themselves. Roy Orbison didn't just sing beautifully — he sang brokenheartedly.