I’ve heard the words “ice cream” more than I could begin to guess in this lifetime. In fact, I know for sure that I’ve used the delicious words with family members more than a few times in the past ten years or so in a monotone voice, “Lieutenant, Daaaane – Ice creeeeam.” It was funny the first ten times…
But those words, “ice cream”, uttered at our family Sunday dinner table a couple weeks back stirredup the murky waters lying dormant in the shallow waters of my mind. “Ice Cream Castles In The Air”, I mumbled adding less than zero and a touch of confusion to the conversation.
I fell backward into my mind.
I grabbed my wife’s cell phone and dialed up the tune from yesteryear, back to the days when I was learning to read and write. The year was 1969, a year dominated by Woodstock and the artists that played the famous outdoor iconic rock concert, along with the super groups that hailed from jolly ole England.
It was written by Joni Mitchell, but made famous by Collins and Ole Blue Eyes for the older crowds. The plinking piano, the heavy base contrasted by Judy Collins innocence stripped voice captured my melancholy heart. The whimsical lyrics about the reality of this fallen world fell comfortably over a seeking heart.
I pondered with Collins the complexities of clouds. How beautiful they were, how unpredictable, and just how little I knew and would ever know about them.
I considered love along with her too. I accepted her take on it. How could a person ever really grasp something that was invisible?
I contemplated life and wrestled with the truth in her words, “Something’s lost and something’s gained in living every day.” A day of life is a gift that brings us one day closer to our last.
As the song built like a cresting wave, the orchestra diminishing, the bass and Collins’ haunting voice climbed up to the climax of the chorus, stretching hearts and hopes in soprano. She then delivered the painful joy in a forlorn alto, “I really don’t know life… at all.”
I still love that old tune and I confess it does still weigh on my soul in a wistful way. It is in that state that my mind volleys between what I can ponder with my senses and what I know in my soul.
This life and the beauty of creation declares God’s majesty.
The clouds that look like ice cream castles in the air are gifts from God. And if we don’t know love… then we don’t know God. And if we don’t know God… we don’t know love.
While something is lost and something is gained in living every day, the ultimate loss is a lifetime lived without gaining the knowledge and love of the One who made it.
For those of us that belong to Him, know that one day we’ll stroll, with Him, through those ice cream castles in the air.(link to song)
I’ve looked at life from both sides now…