About eight years ago, my uncle died, but he still influences my life. Still I recall moments with him, and I recall the kinship I felt then. Even though as I have grown I have become aware of some of our differences, most notably that I am still a terrible and hopeless musician, while he was a genius, still I feel that we understood each other in a unique way.
Nothing can recall my memories of him like certain songs. Of course that is because he spent so many hours trying to instruct me in music. One instruction I received was to watch his VHS of Jesus Christ Superstar, and to write a critique of it. I never wrote the critique, and it took me a long time to even watch the VHS — which I remember I lent to someone else later on, who never returned it to me. I don’t think I was a Christian yet, or if I was, I was very new. Still, the movie’s story awed me, and so did the soundtrack. My favorite song was and is, “The Last Supper.”
I remember one evening in my uncle’s living room, him telling me to put a CD on. I think he told me to choose whatever I liked. I chose the second disc of the JCS soundtrack, the first song of which is, of course, “The Last Supper.” It is so sweet and so dark at the same time. It seems ironic, but I don’t think there is anything evil or even really irreverent in it. I cannot remember my uncle’s exact words, but I think he held my hand for a moment, and was deeply moved by the song. As a musician, I am sure he could name all the little aspects of the music that make it so wonderful — syncopation or counterpoint or what I don’t know. But music was so incredibly important and moving to him, and anyway, we both loved that song, and it was as though he thanked me for choosing it, almost thanked me for loving it too.
I am sad that I cannot remember everything, sad that things did not go as I would have had them go right before he died. Sad that he never really seemed happy as long as I knew him. But even all of this taught me about love. Love can be as simple as sharing a little music that stirs your soul — because maybe it will stir someone else’s. Love is learning to say, “I love you,” which is exactly what I learned when my uncle died. I had resolved to say this to him before he died (he was like my third parent), but I did not have the chance. Ever since, I have regretted it, and ever since, I have tried to be more affectionate to my friends and family; cliche as it may be, you never know when your last chance will be to let them know how you feel.
So there is a little sweetness to this song, and a little darkness. But it does talk about Christ, and… ultimately, Christ makes everything alright again. He cried in agony, did he not? But now sits at the right hand of the Father. He descended to hell, did he not? But rose again, and is Lord of the living and the dead. And he is light, “and in him is no darkness at all.”