In the ever-changing world of San Diego radio, my (formerly) favorite radio station has slowly changed its format. Luckily for me, a “new” radio station formed which plays my favorite hits from the 80’s. And, on Sunday morning, they play repeats of Casey Kasem’s Top 40 countdown. This past Sunday the countdown was from October 16, 1982. As I drove to church, I got to hear numbers 39, 38, and part of 37 on the countdown list.
Because of this “new” format, I’m able to hear hits that I grew up with. It’s funny to hear them with my older ear. This morning they played, "Time After Time." by Cyndi Lauper. The song reminded me of my high school jazz band. We were good, for a high school band, and our director, Mr. Williams, took us on tour around the school district. Once, while we played for an elementary school, our director announced the next song, “Time After Time,” and the children suddenly sat up and cheered. Alas, it was not the song by Cyndi Lauper, but was, instead, an old jazz standard by Sammy Cahn that gained popularity when it was sung in a movie It Happened in Brooklyn, with Frank Sinatra, in 1947. When Mr. Williams heard the cheers, he turned to us and said (and I am not kidding), “Wow, a bunch of Cahn fans; great.” We all had a good chuckle about that. After the performance we told him about the Top 40 hit by the same name, of which he was unaware. Mr. Williams then told us all the songs that Cahn wrote, including, “High Hopes,” “My Kind of Town,” “Come Fly With Me,” and “Let It Snow Let It Snow Let It Snow.”
Yesterday on the radio, while listening to Lauper’s “Time After Time” I suddenly figured out what she was talking about. Although it is easily the 200th time I’ve heard that version of the song, I suddenly realized that Lauper believed that she was a difficult person unworthy of love. In spite of that, my earlier interpretation was that her boyfriend gave her unconditional love in spite of her low self-esteem. But now, in 2014, hearing a song that is thirty years old, I no longer think it was her boyfriend she was singing about. I think it was the grace of God.
Here is the chorus line,
“If you’re lost you can look and you will find me,
time after time.
If you fall I will catch you, I will be waiting,
time after time.”
Mother Teresa wrote that God must rewrite Scripture every night. She wrote this because the same Bible passage she read at night will have a different meaning to her in the morning. I too have had that experience. Maybe it’s not Scripture that changes, but it is us who matures and reads it differently.
Regardless of who Lauper was singing about, one thing is for certain. Listening to that song again, in one sense for the first time, this priest was reminded of God’s unfailing and never-ending love. No matter how far away we walk, no matter how lost we are, no matter how far we fall, God will find us, time after time.