When my neighbour Joyce dropped by on Monday morning to congratulate me, I didn’t know what she was talking about for a moment. “Great to hear you are going to the Gordon Lightfoot concert,” she told me. I was truly delighted!
I had, the Friday before, plucked up my courage and phoned the CBC talk-back line, just in the nick of time, with a question for Gordon Lightfoot. The incentive – a chance to go to his concert in Kelowna, and ask the question personally. O.k., I didn’t actually get to ask him the question, perhaps someone came up with a better one, which I didn’t hear. Still, there was a pair of tickets with my name on them, Row N, seats 9 & 10.
Now, the LP I have called `Gord’s Gold’ from the 1970’s has a youngish, sandy haired, bearded man in his `prime’ on the front cover. How shall I put this… he doesn’t look much like that anymore. Gordon Lightfoot will turn 76 this month. His frame is very slender, his back a bit stooped, and he was fighting a stuffy head. I think we in the audience were sending up a collective silent prayer, `Please don’t keel over on the stage, Gordon.’
So, was I disappointed? Not in the least. Perhaps there was something about recognizing my own finitude and his that made this evening so precious. At one point, early in the show, when Mr. Lightfoot was struggling with something, a man called out from the darkened auditorium, “We love you, Gord.” Everyone spontaneously clapped. This iconic Canadian minstrel has given such a wealth of himself, through the weaving of story in lyric and tune, that the only response I could have was gratitude. I find myself still humming parts of `Rainy Day People’ and `The Wreak of the Edmond Fitzgerald.’
The question I posed for Gordon and would have loved to hear the answer to was, “Gordon, if you could sing one song to God, what would it be, and why would you choose it?” I may never know the answer to that question and that’s ok. It was blessing enough to be there.
It’s a question I can ask myself and a question I pose to you. If you are not a writer of songs, you can shift the question just a little – as you reflect on your life – what gift would you offer to God, and why would you choose it?