I am a Dylan fan. Been enchanted by his brilliant marriage of melody and prose since the age of sixteen. I liked the spirit of the songs. I am a vocalist and for me the heart of a song is in the vocal.
I have this uncanny ability. I know now that it is uncanny because until recently I thought it happened to everyone. It was a rude awakening to find that a) it did not, and b) people doubted this ability in me. I have the uncanny ability to hear souls when they sing. To hear souls in vocals. You can talk to me all day long, and though I may get the essence of who you are- for I also sense quite strongly your spiritual energy- I will not hear your soul. If you open up your voice to sing, however, your soul becomes crystal clear to me.
I used to think I was drawn to music for music’s sake. But I have come to realize that I listen because I am drawn to the spiritual aspect of it. While it is true that instrumentalists translate their souls through musical instruments, moving as that is, it is not as powerful as a musician who translates his soul via his vocals. I believe this is because the communication of the vocalist comes directly from within oneself, while the instrumentalists’ form of communication comes second hand. Once removed, so to speak, through his piano, guitar, or drum.
My ears pick up the spirit, the essence, the soul of the vocals. It’s a very powerful medium. Powerful enough for me to turn a technically brilliant tune off, if it is not pleasing to my heart or upsetting to my heart in any way.
That is probably the best way for me to describe it. I am sorry if t doesn’t resonate with you. Either you will believe it, or get it, or you won’t.
When I first heard Mr. Bob Dylan’s vocal, I was only a child, really. And with this gift of unique interpretation, child likeness was definitely an asset. For children see and hear things clearer and purer than adults. I may not have had the life experience to relate to everything he was singing about, but I did tend to have a keener spiritual intellectual ability.
And so I heard him. Plain as day I heard his soul. After one song I knew who he was.
• Is pure
• Longs for innocence, though does not always find it in himself
• Is a very old soul
• Is honest
• Is just
There is, of course, so much more to Bob Dylan. You and I could fill up pages of identifiers for Bob Dylan spanning from the intellectual to the artistic, the humorous to the sarcastic. But for some reason I am mostly drawn to people who appreciate his above-mentioned list of attributes. For I believe it is these things that most accurately describe who Robert Zimmerman really is.
So suffice it to say that I am in love with Bob Dylan. But you will probably forget that and everything else I just said when you hear what I am about to say next.
I think, today, that Bob is a little lost. Maybe Bob has always been a little lost (for haven’t we all)? But I think that he has always tried to work through that honestly. I think, even today, he is trying to work through it honestly. But we just aren’t hearing him. Let me state it as plainly as I can. I believe Bob has a broken heart. Bob is a regular soul, limping. You see, as much as Bob sees right through people and into their shortcomings, he also desperately loves people, longs for their approval, and yea, still hopes to find angels among the masses. Bob is a sensitive soul and has been profoundly hurt (the degree of your sensitivity dictates the profoundness of your pain). I get that. Bob has high standards. He expects and hopes for people’s motives to be pure, even if their actions fall short. He understands failure for he can see in himself that his actions don’t always line up with his ideals. But his desire is to always go at things with the right motive. How disappointing it is when he discovers that the motives of the ones he chose to love and trust weren’t near as lofty. I get this. In a sense Bob has had too much. He has been overwhelmed. He has given up.
If ever Bob needed a true friend, it is now. But instead, we are trying to make his wrongs into rights. We make excuses for bad behavior and words ill spoken. We have determined that our golden calf will not topple. But the pain of this world can turn even the most golden hearts bitter, and the most pliable hearts can become hardened. I am not saying there is no more goodness in Bobby. There is tons of goodness still there. But sometimes, even the best of us go a little wrong.
Maybe my assessment is behind the curve. Maybe he is coming out of it now. Maybe he is finding his way back to joy. Maybe satan’s grip is loosening, while God’s grip is tugging.
I don’t fault a man for doing what he loves. Even right up until his death. But don’t expect me to have a huge desire to go. It’s not an enjoyable experience for me to hear him sing. Because in the singing, I hear the soul.
Someday, somebody, somewhere has to get that there is more to Robert Zimmerman than music. There is more to Robert Zimmerman than poetry. There is more to Robert Zimmerman than Bob Dylan.
There is a corruption in fame that eats the souls of even the greatest men. “There’s a certain part of you that becomes addicted to a live audience.” (Bob Dylan 1997) is in direct contrast to “make it your ambition to lead a quiet life…” in 1 Thes 4:11.
The girl from the Red River Shore was on the mark when “she gave me her best advice and she said go home and lead a quiet life.” Whether her character was made up or real, her love was true and deep, and in his heart Bob knew she was right. Songs pen themselves when led by the Holy Spirit and the genius of Bob is that he let the Spirit fully in.
There was a time when a small handful of us saw the goodness in Bob and the leading of the Holy Spirit in his life….and we prayed! We prayed God would reveal Himself to Bob and draw him unto Himself, for “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draws him…” John 6:4 And God heard our prayers and did that very thing, as was abundantly evidenced in his astonishing gospel songs!
Would it be too much, too un-cool, too anti-Bob Dylan-forum, too seemingly judgmental to ask you to pray again?
I silently pray for Bob that he may finally be able to let go of the bright lights and the accolades, and live a quiet life by the seashore. I pray that he is able to pour himself into someone who needs him to be there for them day in and day out. I pray for quiet days on a bench by that seashore where he can pour over scripture and meditate the profundities of nature. I pray Robert has opportunity to love silly, beautiful, flawed, and awkward Robert- just because that’s enough. Robert Zimmerman is enough.
Maybe those of us who love him need to give him permission to stop leading us? Maybe it is time for us to stop being selfish and let the man get old? Maybe we ought to let him go quietly to meet his God? Maybe it’s time for us to let him breathe without breathing down his neck? Maybe it is time for Bob to have a really good, long, cry and to pour out his heart to the skies without anyone else around? And maybe it really is time for the skies and his God to be enough. A big enough audience. A big enough healing.
I love you Bob. I’ll love you until I die. But as much as I love you, I’m willing to let you go….