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Ask the Rock Doc: 
Dr. BLT offers advice for a song to music-minded youth and adults in crisis. 

The following inquiry has been paraphrased, with certain details omitted and/or altered to protect the confidentiality of the subject.

Dear Dr. BLT:

My name is Neil, but my friends call me SocraTease.  That's because I am so philosophical compared to most of my peers, and when I'm on stage, I tease the audience with my guitar licks, always leaving them wanting more.  Lately life seems like the biggest tease of all.  I am 19 years old and I feel like an old, dying man.  In one of your articles I got the impression you were into the Beatles.  Well, the song I identify with most is "When I'm 64."  I feel like I'm at least 64, going on 90.  I used to believe in happy endings.  No matter how tough life would get, I always told myself that
there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  That is until everything began to fall apart for me.   

Recently my girlfriend, Anna, who was also my band-mate, told me that she wanted to let me go because I was dragging her down.  I was very close to her.  Not only was she the creative force behind the band, but she and I were planning on getting married and touring around the country with the band.  There are a lot of hopes and dreams that are all dashed.  We were just in the process of putting a band together that the other band members wanted to name after me, SocraTease. Although we hadn't lined up any gigs yet, rehearsals were going well.  We took pride in our own unique blend of
"screamo" and hard-core philosophy.

It's more than her presence in the band.   Anna has been my main source of emotional support ever since my parents split up two years ago.  Now life doesn't seem worth living.  It's all meaningless, boring and sad.  I sometimes wish I was never born, simply because every time things appear to
be working out, you never know when it's all going to come crashing down. I've been getting very desperate but can't seem to stop myself.  Last night I went to see my ex at her apartment and begged on my knees for her to take me back.  She just got this disgusted look on her face and told me to get some help.  So this seemed like the logical place to do that.  Please help.
 

Dear SocraTease on His Knees

I am a big Beatles fan.  I'm sorry that you identify so closely with "When I'm 64," because it means that you honestly believe that life has passed you by.  It hasn't, but I understand why you feel like it
has.  You have endured at least two huge losses of late.  First you lost your family of origin.  That involved a mom and dad who were together, a whole family that you could come home to.  More recently you've had to endure yet another huge loss, the loss of a girlfriend/band-member and ongoing source of emotional support.

Like Socrates, who seemed far too eager a sheep before the slaughter, you take comfort in the idea of death.  And yet even Socrates, who would boldly and happily die for a noble cause, refused to take his own life until he was forced to do so by his enemies.  Before you share in the poison that was
Socrates last drink, let me offer you a cup of living water.

What you are thirsting for, your x-girlfriend could never supply, only God can.  

One of the most memorable lines in the Beatles classic song, Help! is "Help me get my feet back on the ground..."   I hope to get you started back on your feet, but while your ex-girlfriend seemed disgusted by the sight of you on your knees, this is exactly where you need to be right now.  I'm not
asking you to return to your ex's home to further humiliate yourself.   Your girlfriend will undoubtedly reject you in such a state.  God, on the other hand, will welcome you with open arms.  There's nothing magical about approaching him on our knees, but there's something about such a posture
that allows us to be more aware of the majesty, glory and power of our Lord.
 

You are only human, and it hurts to be human.  Having the capacity for self-awareness sets you, as a human being, apart from other creatures.  But it also allows you to experience hurt in all of its psychological depth.  It  gave you a mirror which gave you a sense of identity.   But for you, that
mirror has shattered.  It shattered for the first time when your parents split up.  Then your girlfriend abandoned you and I'm sure it felt like she was stomping all over that shattered glass, further breaking
the broken pieces into smaller, shattered glass pieces and sharp splinters.
 

In addition to losing your identity, or seeming to lose it, you lost your awareness of the meaningfulness of life.  Logotherapy is an existential form of therapy designed to help folks like you find meaning life.  It was a system of therapy invented by Viktor Frankl.  Nobody understands pain like Vicktor Frankl.  He was captured by the Nazis and held prisoner from 1942 to 1945.  Those were years in which he was not only separated from loved ones, but brutally tortured.  Yet he survived because he learned how to find meaning in the midst of suffering. 

Right now you are too close to the pain to find the meaning, so I expect that you will not seek it out immediately.  It may not be time for that meaning to be revealed.  It may simply be time for you to feel the pain, hopefully while surrounded by friends and family members who love you and care about how you feel.  Maybe it will also mean seeking out professional help, particularly if you are considering suicide.  If that is something that you are seriously contemplating, I would recommend checking yourself into the emergency unit at your local hospital, or at least having a trained professional test you to determine if you are a risk to yourself.  
 
I would like to offer you an abbreviated, unofficial form of something I call "psychoprayerapy."   It is a a spiritual and psychological realignment of your philosophy of life.  That is what it will take to get you off of your knees and back on your feet again.  I offer sound advice for a song, and the following one seems best suited for you.  And so I will leave you where you need to be-on  your knees-as I leave you with the lyrics to a song once God etched in my ear.  The song is entitled “On Bended Knee.”  In
addition to a song, it is a prayer that comes from my heart.  It is going out to yours.   

Life don't seem so hard to me
Don't need to try so hard to be
Things I'm blind to, I can see
When I'm down on bended knee
 
Sometimes I lose my perspective
Sometimes I get so confused
I can't seem to find the answer
I feel so bent, so bound to lose
'cept when I'm down
on bended knee

save me,
hold me,
feed me,
your sheep and I
save me,
redeem me,
keep me
on bended knee...

On Bended Knee, words and music by Dr. B.L.Thiessen, 1997, 2004

(standard column summary blurb here)

If you're a musically-minded person whose life has become out of tune,
e-mail Dr. BLT at drblt@drblt.com
 

P.S. I wish you and your band overwhelming success.  Congratulations on your success so far!

E-mail letters to Dr. BLT at drblt@drblt.com
 
 

Dr. BLT, aka Dr. Bruce L. Thiessen, is a Christ-centered licensed clinical psychologist and university instructor who specializes in the psychology of modern music.  He uses his original songs as well as those of other artists to address the problems of his patients, including his biggest, sickest, most challenging patient--society.

His face and name recognition, particularly with teens, comes from his short part on a long Cake music video--the Cake video for “Short Skirt/Long Jacket” that earned the band a nomination for Ground Breaking Music Video of the Year on the 2002 MTV Video Music Awards. 


 
 
 
 

 

 
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