Amazing Grace

It’s considered to be one of the most recognisable songs in the English-speaking world.  It’s also the only song that is almost guaranteed to make me cry.

If you’re not familiar with the origins of Amazing Grace, it was written by John Newton, an English poet and clergyman, and is a song of forgiveness and redemption.  It is considered to be a Christian hymn, and is sometimes played at funerals, often by a solo bagpiper.  John Newton was involved in the slave trade; but on a particularly rough voyage, he began his spiritual journey.  Amazing Grace was written for a New Years Day service in 1773; and has been known to be sung to over 20 different melodies, as it is unknown if the there was any music to accompany it on début.  It’s now most closely associated with the tune “New Britain”, and can be sung acapella, with music, or as an instrumental.

What I find interesting about this song, is that despite it’s Christian overtones, I still strongly identify with it.  I don’t believe that I will ever be forgiven for what I have done, or that I will ever be redeemed; instead, for me, the song is about grief.  It’s about pain and releasing that pain.  It’s about death.

There are many versions of the song available… some of the more popular ones on YouTube are by the Celtic Women, Elvis Presley, British Airways Pipe Band and Hayley Westernra (a fellow kiwi).  One of my favourite vocal versions is by LeAnn Rimes…

I’m unsure about the reasons why I am seeking this song out at the moment.  I’m still in a very bad place, and this is one of the songs that I want played at my funeral – another is by ABBA, just to make people laugh.  So am I adding to the pit that I am in by listening to this, or am I releasing the grief and pain that I feel?  I’m not really sure.

There are so many thoughts floating through my head, that it’s difficult to make sense of them.  I know that I’m sucked dry.  I’ve been running on empty for about four months now, and it doesn’t look as if it’s going to improve any time soon.  I know my safety is a huge issue, and I was expecting Allison to send me to hospital last week… instead there was a misunderstanding, and I shut down.  Any glimmers of trust that were starting to be built, have gone.

I’m trying not to be reactionary, but it’s difficult.  After the session on Friday, I created this Polyvore set…
No one is perfect
What’s interesting, is that the rabbit is looking in a mirror… is the set saying that Allison was at fault, I was, or we both were?  Is this about me seeing the reflection of my dysfunctional behaviour, and not liking it?  Or is it a cute graphic about no one being perfect, no matter how hard we try?  I wish I knew…


23 thoughts on “Amazing Grace

  1. This was so beautiful – brought me to tears’ – thanks for this song. The music calmed me so much – thank you!

    God Speed CG!


  2. To me your polyvore is a cute graphic about no one being perfect, the rabbit can see that and is working to fix itself.

    I have found music helps a lot with healing. Mind you I don’t think I have ever listened to Amazing Grace.

    We had a rather excited and eccentric Californian music teacher at high school who almost always got us to sing Amazing Grace.

    Take care.

  3. CG,
    Sorry to hear you had a misunderstanding with Allison, hear you about losing that hope of trust, we’ve been there too, “hard” does not being to cover it. Only thing we can suggest (and feel free to ignore us) is write her a note telling her how you see what happened and how it made you feel and see how she responds.
    Take gentle care of yourself and please stay safe, you’re important.
    Thinking of you,

    • Hi Bay,

      I wrote an email apologising for my part in what happened, and trying to explain my reactions. We have a boundary where Allison doesn’t respond to any of my emails, so i don’t know what she thinks of it all now. I’ll find out next week when I see her again.

      Yes, “hard” doesn’t begin to describe it. The self-recriminations and downward spiral are incredible. But then, I was doing that anyway, so the interaction had little to do with that.

      Please take care,

  4. CG, I’ve used music many times to access emotions that I can’t feel otherwise, especially grief. When my grandmother died I had to play specific songs to cry because if I didn’t I literally couldn’t cry. If you’re feeling frawn to this song, I don’t think that it means things are over, I think you’re trying to feel. Of course I would want you to be careful and not lose yourself.

    I think the fact that you chose a “cute graphic” to represent what happened with Allison is a positive thing. You could have done a set that was dark and macabre (which would have been fine if that’s how you felt) but you chose this like maybe you were trying to see the lighter side of things. Our therapist are unforntunately humans and they remind us of that from time to time and it always causes trust problems. I’m really sorry that happened to you.

    My biggest concern is your safety. I think the fact that you’re running on empty is playing a big part. We always try to go and go and then we just can’t do it anymore. Is there something you can do to refuel? Something healthy that can bring your spirit back a bit? I also think that whatever happens with Allison is going to be important to your peace of mind but I apologize that I can’t remember when you’re supposed to see her again?

    • Hi tai,

      Thanks for your input 🙂

      I wish I knew what to make of the graphic. It can be like when I’m being my most polite, I’m being my most rude… so when I’m finding the most cute things to represent things, it means they’re at their worst. It’s when I tip the scales over, that it happens. The scales were tipped awhile ago.

      I tried to get into respite care tonight, but failed. I am getting more work piled on me, and it’s not going to let up any time soon. I just have to do it.

      I see Allison next week. All my trust in her has gone, so it won’t help seeing her. She’s not the enemy, but she’s no longer seen as an ally.

      Don’t apologise, I don’t talk about her much here 🙂

      Take care,

      • Ah, I see what you mean about the graphic then. That changes the way I look at your Polyvore set and I can see different meanings in it.

        I am super pissed about the respite! What happened? It’s driving me nuts, I wish there was more that I could do for you. Grrr… I’m going to keep thinking and you’ll probably hear the gears grinding all the way over to your place!

        I’ll be thinking about you all day my friend…

  5. Amazing Grace is a truly wonderful song. I find it healing. Grieving and forgiveness (internal or external) are so intertwined. It may be helpful to not think about it so much, not saying you are, and allow yourself to explore the feelings.

    I will just take exception to the sentence you embedded about forgiving “what I have done.” We all have to deal with this. But forgiving one’s self is the only way to heal.

    • Hi Paul,

      It is a beautiful song, so full of meaning.

      I always thought that before you can forgive anyone else, you have to be able to forgive yourself. I don’t know if that’s right, but forgiving myself is out of reach.

      Take care,

  6. Thank you!

    I was in such a bad place 15 minutes ago… I don’t know why I typed in your blog. But I did. I found this. And it was transformational. Immediately grounding. Emotional. Pain. Truth.

    LeAnn Rimes did a few too many “grace” notes for my taste.. but I really loved the Celtic Woman version and also a good version is Susan Boyle. Also the FDNY Pipes and Drums recorded this… It was pre 9/11.

    This is an easy song to play on the Irish Whistle. If you ever wanted to try an experiment, get yourself a whistle and try to play it with your own breath. There is nothing like it.

    • Hi Paul,

      I’m glad the connection to the music helped 🙂

      I know LeAnn goes a bit too far at times with the song… To me, the song needs to be simple and honest. I didn’t like the Celtic Women version of the song because of their outfits and their flouncing around… seems too well rehearsed, and that detracts from the humble message of the song.

      I love the pipe version of the song, mainly because I remember it from the Edinburgh Military Tattoo, which I often watched while growing up. I haven’t been able to find a good version of the Tattoo playing Amazing Grace yet, but if you’ve seen the movie Amazing Grace, there is a good pipe version during the credits.

      I’m so glad you found grounding and connection through music again.

      Please take care, and remember how seemingly simple things can make a huge difference,

  7. I’m sorry you’re struggling, too. I often find music is a way to release the hurt, when nothing else will. Amazing Grace is beautiful.

    Running on empty isn’t good, and I’m learning is often a recipe for disaster (emotionally). Perhaps you need to stop running, and just “be” for a day, to allow yourself to process things that are happening. Without necessarily making the effort – a process of osmosis, if you will.

    I also like your Polyvore set – the bunny rabbit is sooo cute! I don’t think it’s saying anyone’s at fault. Can you talk to Allison about how the trust has vanished?

    Please take care. ((hugs)) if wanted.

    • Hi Kerro,

      I’m sorry you’re struggling. Music can be incredibly healing and grounding…

      It sounds like you’re gaining more understanding of where you’re at, and what will help… that’s great 🙂 I’m not sure what I’d do if I didn’t keep running.

      Take care and (((warm safe hugs)))

  8. My favorite hymn remains “Just As I Am” for many of the same reasons you name about Amazing Grace. I tend to have an aversion for Amazing Grace because of it’s association with funerals, but I am glad that it comforts you. It is so important to have things that comfort us.

    • Hi Storm Dweller,

      I have quite a few religious issues, so I’m not familiar with any hymns beyond those which make it into popular culture. I like the title of the one that you mention though, it sounds positive and affirming.

      Take care,

  9. Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me – powerful stuff. These aren’t just words, it is about hope and love and trusting the universe to show you and guide you. Maybe that is why the song has so much meaning for you.
    You said you have been empty for four months. What is it that you need to take from these lyrics and make your own? “Through many dangers, toils and snares
    I have already come;
    ‘Tis Grace that brought me safe thus far
    and Grace will lead me home.”
    Big hugs 🙂

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