Vatican Radio has a huge collection of beautiful music, available for the use of the 39 language programmes of the radio station. Early on Saturday morning, I borrowed a CD and sat at the computer to listen to it before embarking on making a programme for broadcasting at a future date.
I’ve grown up with “The Skye Boat Song”, but never until Saturday morning had I ever noticed its utter loneliness and the misery of dashed hopes and dreams that resulted in this piece of music. As its haunting melody filled the office I could see, in my mind’s eye, a young prince arriving in Scotland, full of hopes that he might put his father on the throne of his native land. He failed. A battle-weary warrior later fled to the Isle of Skye, dressed as a female servant in the hopes of escaping his pursuers.
Every single one of us has had the experience of disappointment in life. Sometimes it might have been as small and unspectacular as not finding an expected favourite dish included in the day’s menu. On other occasions, the disappointment can be devastating, turning the world upside down and calling for a complete readjustment of priorities. Imagine what it must be like for parents to discover that their beautiful new baby has an incurable medical condition that will prevent it having a normal life. Imagine the effect on a new bride who hears that her husband has just been killed in a road accident. There are the hopes of a youngster for a particular career, whose exam results make it an impossible dream. There’s the family whose home is destroyed in a bush fire… There is no end to the real-life examples we can give of people who have suddenly lost absolutely everything for which they had hoped and dreamed, everything that gave them purpose and made life meaningful.
Fortunately, for most of us, life is not normally cataclysmic, but let’s spare a prayer for those whose hopes and dreams are torn apart, that God will be with them.