Pauca Verba is Latin for A Few Words.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Something George Harrison Said

This post isn't about the Beatles nor about their music. It's just about something George Harrison said and what it might suggest to us.
"People always say to me, I'm the Beatle that changed the most, but really, that's what I see life is about. You have to change."
I was invited to a new friend's home for lunch, and as she prepared the meal she licked her fingers and put the tasting spoon back in the pot. She dropped food on the floor and put it back on the plate. Her large dog had his feet up on the counter. When I called her out on this lack of kitchen hygiene she said, "Well that's the way I am - take it or leave it."

That kind of response isn't unusual today: defensive, protective. rationalized, prideful. An individual person can be like this or a family, even a nation. We don't often hear: "You know, you're right, I never thought of it that way before." 

George Harrison wrote the song, "I, Me, Mine" because he was fed-up with the self-preoccupied Beatle-world he lived in. It's said that he was put-out when the song (directed at over-stated, self-involved people) was used as back-up music for a video of John and Yoko dancing together. And put-out again (or hurt), when John, Paul and Ringo objected to the amount of time needed to learn George's new song while happily spending hours rehearsing a ditty for the Doctor Pepper album.

George had changed. After the group split up he never even referred to himself as a former Beatle. His own son found out from a schoolmate that his father had been one of the four. He only called himself a gardener. And when someone paid him a compliment: "George, your garden is just fabulous," he answered, "It's not mine, it belongs to all of us." He wasn't thinking he had the garden because he'd made lots of money off the fans but that as human beings we're all inhabited by one common spirit. He thought "I" should  be spelled "i" 

 "....but really that's what I see life is about. You have to change."

The people who read Catholic priest blogs are probably good people. So what's to change? I'd suggest the change has to do with our awareness of interior things. One monk says that First World is sleepwalking: every day we do our thing, complete our work, make our money, solve some problems, manage the hassles, keep up with the e-mails and voice mails...

A lot of life is missed that way - like the sleepwalker who when he wakes up doesn't know where he's/she's been - unless there's been damage along the way.

So the change George referred to might well have been inner. This shouldn't startle the Christian, Jesus said, "Unless you be born again..."  (John 3:3)

For all that we possess, all that we have access to, for all the freedoms we claim, very many of us are still riddled with anxieties, depression, anger, addictions, even dysfunction. One way of stepping into real change (of being re-born) is to ask ourselves why? And not to accept, "I don't know" as an answer.

  • What am I really so angry about?
  • What's going on with me that I remain in this addiction?
  • Why won't I let go of these old memories?
  • What's the real reason for these un-relenting fears?
  • Why do I consistently run and hide from challenges?
  • Why am I so needy - so dependent?
  • Why do I continue to accept this abuse?
  • Why am I so un-creative about my own life?

These wounded or hollow aspects of ourselves, that our culture tends to medicate, shop, drink or eat away, invite a life-time of change, growth or second birth-ing. And no one should think, "Oh I'm too old for all of that,"  or "I'm too busy..." What a shame it would be to draw near to life's end never having examined my life from the inside.

"....but really, that's what I see life is about. You have to change."


  1. Change is such an exciting thought but so hard to do. It takes work. Little by little, I guess. Thank you for your suggestion.

  2. Why do I accept these wounded, hollowed aspects of my life? It is because life is fragile and any change might cause it to crack in half or worse, shatter. I am not strong enough to pick up the pieces. Maybe I am too weak to consider changing, but at least I can see your point here and understand.

    1. Start with something small. It doesn't have to be done all at once. Apples ripen slowly. But do something.

  3. You write so much about our need for self reflection and being open to change. I applaud your efforts in trying to show us the way to a better life for ourselves and in our spiritual growth. I can admit to lingering angers and a certain degree of neediness, that desire for acceptance from people. I need to let go and live more freely. Your words are sinking in and taking root Father. Without your knowing it, your persistence is paying off. Thank you for believing in yourself enough to write and share your good thoughts.

  4. Rain is best and most useful when it is steady and gentle. If it comes all at once in a great torrent, most of it doesn't sink it - it washes off the surface, down to the stream. So these principles or directions for an awake and conscious Christian spiritual life need to come to us little by little. The speed with which we live today invites inner slumber or even a kind of coma. I hope the posts keep pointing: not that way, but this! Thanks for writing.

  5. When I read today's post, I was reminded to look back again at Mary's Flowers from May 3rd. Gazing at the beautiful flowers and thinking of Mary always watching out for us with a mother's loving hand to guide us, I feel a growing strength from within me. You are correct in saying that you are pointing the way. For some it may be little by little, but for others it lights a fire inside.