Pearl Jam. The first time I saw this unreal group in concert was at Lollapalooza in 1992. Their first album, Ten, was pretty much in my cigarette lighter adapted car CD player nonstop. Anyone remember those? I also had it on cassette tape, as I needed a way to play it on my Jam box in my room. If I close my eyes, a discernible Mona Lisa smile must surely cross my lips as I recall hazy memories of that carefree era of my life.
Pearl Jam has an incredible discography and I’m sure, in future posts, I’ll explore many of their songs. The song that plays in my mind today as I sit quietly is Just Breathe. To me, this song is a powerful prayer. A glimpse into humanity and our mutual brokenness. An expression of desire mixed with the fear that accompanies being fully known to another. I love the lyric, “practiced are my sins, never gonna let me win…under everything just another human being.” I don’t know about you all, but I do a pretty fair job practicing sins all the time. I don’t think most of us mean to but we are all sinners and are very well practiced. We cannot win against sin – ever. We can turn away but we cannot win. Thank you Jesus for dying on the cross for us. I think in most cases, we want to come clean, but we do not because of fear. The song points to that fear in the pleading tone of, “did I say that I need you… did I say that I want you?” Vedder acknowledges the pain of regret and his foolishness. Isn’t that how we all feel when we make a mistake? A bit dumbfounded by ourselves and hope to be loved anyway? The song has so much to offer us. It gives me hope in forgiveness, unconditional love, and even mentions the afterlife.
When we are born, we come out and gasp in life-giving oxygen of our first breath. We don’t have to think about it, we just breathe. When life is full of challenges or filled with abundance, either way, we can all gain greatly by taking a moment to just breathe. To savor the moment or give pause to proceed more calmly. To take a moment to be thankful, no matter the circumstance before us. Just breathing is a powerful way to center ourselves; to prevent the imaginary from developing a stronghold in our lives that isn’t warranted.
Take a few minutes today and just breathe. This too shall pass. Slow and steady. Inhale and exhale.
And also….check out the great Willie Nelson cover of the song.