Thursday, May 29, 2014

Looking for my Life...

The music of that sweet man, George Harrison, has enriched my life in ways inexpressible.

But never more than when I was in Iraq, ten years ago.

He passed away on November 29, 2001. I shed tears of sorrow for his loss and of joy for his life on that day.

In the summer of 2002, I went to work at the National Security Agency as an Arabic linguist.

On November 18, 2002, his last and posthumous album "Brainwashed" was released. I snatched it up immediately. I consider it actually his greatest musical achievement.

One song emerged for me as a fast favorite, "Looking for my Life."

In the summer of 2004, ten years ago right now as I write this, I was on my way to Iraq.

And as I was there, this song took on new dimensions for me.

I took six George songs with me. "Looking for my Life" was among them.

Here are the lyrics and the meaning they then took on for me.

"I never knew that life was loaded."

Me, in Iraq, wearing that gun...
I had never fired a gun before I had to be certified on the Glock 9mm and M4 Assault rifle to go to Iraq. I also never knew that life was loaded. And I prayed every day that I would never face the situation where I would have to draw that gun.

"I never knew that things exploded."

Neither did I. Until I heard mortar shells explode and I ran for my life to shelter. I'm a simple boy from Wisconsin, from farmer stock. And somehow, in the twists and turns of Providence, I was in Iraq and running from explosions.

"Had no idea that I was heading
Toward a state of emergency"

Neither did I, when I applied at the NSA, but I suppose I should have known better...

"I had no fear where I was treading
I only found it out when I was down upon my knees
Looking for my life"

And I really didn't fear where I was treading when I volunteered for duty in Iraq. I wanted a piece of the action. And I would eventually find myself on my knees, looking for my life...

Thank you, George. You gave me strength when I needed it most. 

I pray for your soul. May you be in a Place of Brightness and Repose.

Please listen to the beautiful music of George Harrison, "Looking for my Life."