Twisted Mystic Neil Diamond in ‘Play Me’

neil diamondOK, I know that when you first saw this dazzling pic of Neil in his technicolor dreamcoat, you were tempted to go and google the etymology of “cheese” or something; anything rather than consider that Neil Diamond might have something deep to say to you today.

Maybe you thought “Twisted Mystics” was about young hipsters, youth in angst, or mainstream rockers and rollers. Well it’s time to broaden them horizons!

I was first introduced to Neil as a young lad, through the big, bulky “Jazz Singer” soundtrack my mother owned on an 8 track tape. Those tapes were awesome and could double as coasters, or a hammer if you were desperate and really needed to hang that painting.

Anyhoo, back to Neil. Let’s take the following words and set them into the mouths of lovers… of a husband and wife. This is what we do here at Twisted Mystics; we transpose. We find the theme and set it to a theological melody. We take a rambling branch and graft it to the Divine Vine from which all branches break forth.

She was morning
And I was night time
I one day woke up
To find her lying
Beside my bed
I softly said
“Come take me”
For I’ve been lonely
In need of someone
As though I’d done
Someone wrong somewhere
but I don’t know where
Come lately

You are the sun
I am the moon
You are the words
I am the tune
Play me

Ah the Cosmic Dance of masculine and feminine! “She was morning… and I was night time.” It’s common knowledge that men and women are different. Common knowledge but commonly misunderstood, or seen as some kind of obstacle (“the battle of the sexes”). Today, there also appears to be a great effort to level the playing field…. to asexualize our sexuality and invite people to “pick” which one they want, as if from scratch. But if we scratch below the surface, we discover an extremely damaging agenda here.

In the olden days (before Neil Diamond) people used to conform themselves to reality. This is a very sane thing to do. Today we are insane. We try to conform reality unto us. Rather than discover in our creation as male and female something of the mystery of God’s image and likeness, we determine that we will make ourselves after our own image and likeness. The problem with this is, aside from a cosmic arrogance, we don’t have a clue as to who we are.

“When we lose sight of the Creator, the creature vanishes,” so spoke Vatican Council II.

Our origins, revealed in Genesis, tell us so much about what masculinity is and what femininity is, if we could but sit still and listen. The mythic elements (not myths) in Genesis speak of man being formed from the earth, with Spirit (God’s ruah in Hebrew, breath) whispered into us. Is this why men seem to be more independent, detached, more comfortable being alone, distant at times? But in all our land-locked travels, we long to return to the heart.

For I’ve been lonely
In need of someone
As though I’d done
Someone wrong somewhere
but I don’t know where

Men, despite the sometimes tough exterior, long to be in love, lost in it, we long to swim in an ocean that is deep and mysterious. That ocean is made from us, flows from us, flows to us from God…. and from Woman. Then God took a rib from Adam, and formed from his side Woman.

    The “first man and the first woman must constitute …the model… for all men and women who, in any period, are united so intimately as to be ‘one flesh’” – Pope John Paul II, TOB, 50).

In Hebrew, the rib bespeaks the whole person. Bone is emblematic of the whole body, the whole person. Woman then is formed from the side of a rational human person. Is this why women tend, generally speaking, to be more relational, intuitive, contemplative, nurturing, gentle, emotional?

Songs she sang to me
Songs she brang to me
Words that rang in me
Rhyme that sprang from me
Warmed the night
And what was right
Became me

Men and women were never meant to clash with but to complement each other. Sin is at the root of this conflict. And so the remedy to the poison brought by the first Adam and Eve, is revealed in the gift of the new Adam and Eve. Never has there been a duet more beautifully sung than that of Jesus and Mary. In their words we learn how to untwist all of our twisted ramblings. For He is the Sun, and she is the Moon, He is the Word and she is the Tune…

And so it was
That I came to travel
Upon a road
That was thorned and narrow
Another place
Another grace
Would save me

  • This article was originally posted at: http://twistedmystics.blogspot.com/2009/05/play-me.html.