“Time goes by so slowly and time can do so much”

Sung by The Righteous Brothers


The song Unchained Melody first appeared in the 1955 movie Unchained, which takes place in a prison.  My thoughts of this tune link more to the romantic end of life but this song was actually written to reflect the mood of the prisoners as they waited for time to pass. (For the intents and purposes of this blog post, I choose to not link romance to prison. Besides, I would like to remain happily married).  What’s very interesting to me is that The Righteous Brothers sang this and one of them was blessed to have the last name “Medley”.

Hmmmnnnn.  Thinking deep thoughts and it does hurt a bit. Medley, righteous, unchained.  Time can do so much?  What happens when time doesn’t accomplish enough? When your melody becomes a mushed medley and you wait for time to do something – anything? What if you’re desperately hoping that time won’t be wasted so much so that you miss the very thing you’ve been longing for?

Here are questions I’ve been pondering for the better part of a year:

  • So what if you’re free but you didn’t necessarily choose it?  Is it still freedom? Even when it doesn’t feel like it?  Do moments of despair, dejection, death, destruction offer any hope of freedom?
  • What does it require to walk forward when your feet are still covered in mud?  A shower – but in what?
  • What does it look like to walk freely, anyway? To boldly go where you’ve never gone before?  Please tell me it does not require me to wear pink and be oblivious to reality…not that those two things are aligned in any way, shape or form.  Those who know me will know my aversion to pink.
  • Why does one wait for righteous instead of walking toward it?  By the time the “sorry” comes, will it really mean anything anyway?

There are times when life, circumstance, skewed paradigms or people tell you that you’re not worth it, that you don’t measure up, that you’re unwanted and that your contributions are no longer needed, if they ever were.  Even if you know that these statements are untrue, how do you sift through them to find the truth you need to cling to?

What does one do when opportunity knocks and comes with a solid kick in the shins?

Put on shin guards. Be brave and answer the door.

What does one do when sad things happen, too many, too soon and too close together?

Be sad, but not alone.

What does one do when the realization hits that self esteem has taken a serious hit and that previously relied upon resilience is relatively nonexistent?

Quit the arrogance.  I’ve been resilient for the majority of my life, I expected that I would stop being sad faster than I have after experiencing what I deemed a minor deluge of difficulty. Each of the drops in the deluge seemed small in my mind, because I was attempting to will them into smallness or they happened to belong to someone else whose situation was much worse than mine.  No one told me that a whole bunch of difficult situations together can create a downpour that puts more than a damper on your momentum.  My get up and go, gone up and went.  It was like having 10 yappy dogs barking over my head. I’d been frustrated with my lack of resilience and worried that I would never achieve what God had for me because I wasn’t as tough as I thought I was.  Thankfully, it doesn’t and never has depended on me.  I’m quitting arrogance, well at least I’m trying to.  Pride is an ugly thing and I’d rather focus on beauty.  Especially since I can’t try to be younger.

I asked God to show me a picture of me.  And He did.  It was beautiful, free, and fluid. I have learned something very important about freedom – I am free because and when I walk closely with my God.  Continuous joy does not equal freedom.  Perpetual sadness does not equal freedom.  Emotions have very little to do with freedom, but they provide a test for that freedom.   Am I willing to walk with confidence, boldly?

I am so thankful because I have felt deep dark sadness and in that deep dark sadness, I have felt my Saviour weep with me.  I have never wanted to live life on a surface level though sometimes I have longed for relief.  The gifts that I have received through these experiences are:


-deeper worship




-ability to assess when I can and cannot be a part of a solution

-qualities of a good friend

-deep appreciation for my husband, children, friends and church

-more honesty

I forgot who I was because I allowed the false messages to blur some of the truth that I needed to see. Coffee with a friend and a chat with a mentor gave me more determination and a greater revelation.  This is the way I say good bye to that false message – I say hello to freedom.  It wouldn’t make any difference to confront or console or confuse the issues by looking over my shoulder.

Yesterday was suffering, humiliation, and sorrow and who knows what tomorrow may bring.  The key is simply this:  to be disciplined enough to wake up and look at every day as part of my strong, bold adventure.  I may be sorrowful or rapturous or somewhere in-between, but regardless of emotion or circumstance, I can choose to steadily walk forward.  And it takes time.  I hope it does go slowly.  Slowly enough for me to hear the birds, hold my son’s hand, and have a coffee with someone who cares about me. To spend a whole morning baking just to hear a teenager sigh as the butter melted on a freshly made cinnamon bun reaches his tummy.

As I yield my arrogance to this leisurely walk of peace, the chains are falling off my melody.  I can hear them drop with every determined stroke of my pen. And there is a certain part of me that sticks my tongue out at every chain as it drops.  Whether that’s a good thing or not is up for discussion in another blog post.

When you are in a place where you are unable to sing your song because someone, something or even yourself has inadvertently placed chains on your melody, remember that you’re not alone.  Until you can sing your song, do whatever you can to hear the songs of someone else until you’re brave enough to try to sing again.

When you are singing freely, sing around, over or even near someone else until they can sing with you.  The barber down the street has a little bird who sings.  I fully embarrassed my children the other day as I sang back to the bird.  Sing back to the birds! Who said you couldn’t?

May your melody be unchained today!

(c) May 15, 2013 Sandra Foster, Ranenpur