"Steal a little and they'll put you in jail, steal a lot and they'll make you king." - Bob Dylan
That's a line from his song, Sweetheart Like You.
Life has many thieves.
Yes, many of them are people - robbers and thieves - but that's not the subject today. Today it's about the things that rob us of much more than money. Even though the thieves in the illustration for the show-notes have bags of money, that may be the least of our valuables that get taken. More accurately, the valuables that we allow the many thieves to take from us.
The Sound Of Their Voice
I watched 9/11 Phone Calls From The Towers, a documentary on Amazon Prime. It was emotionally wrenching. Survivors were thankful for the phone calls. They were able to have final conversations with their loved ones. Others got voice messages giving them recordings of their loved one's voice. They've gone to great lengths to preserve the recordings, some just a few seconds long.
Terrorists stole the voices of thousands of loved ones. One woman - a survivor - remarked how she'd been told, "You'll forget the sound of the voice."
As I watched this documentary I thought about how those recordings were likely both a blessing or a curse. These recordings, unlike this podcast, were produced under duress, fear, and sometimes the knowledge that death was imminent.
The comfort wasn't so much for the survivors, but for those trapped. There are two sides to the conversations and we may focus too much on the people having to hear the fear in the voices of their loved ones. But those folks who perished had an opportunity to express their final thoughts, feelings, and wishes.
Many of the deceased were able to make numerous phone calls to the people they cared for most. Phone records showed some of them made many calls. They were craving the voices of people who loved them, and the people they loved.
Other recordings were the radio transmissions of the first responders who never made it out. All this audio is priceless to the families adding to the legacy those families will embrace - that they had a loved one who died trying to save and serve the victims of the attack.
In the documentary the survivors recalled another sound. A sound coming from inside themselves working its way out of their mouth. Cries. Moans. Wailing. Sounds some of them admit they had never made before. Or since.
My father turned 96 in September. I have a little bit of audio of him, but not nearly enough. I need to get more. Just last week I got this snippet though. It was about his one and only fight. I didn't provoke the conversation. My mother did. :D
Think of all the people in your life who have passed. Some from your earliest childhood. What a blessing we have today with digital technology where we can easily capture and preserve the sound of voices. Can you imagine being able to hear your great grandparents? Or your grandparents? What about that close family friend you saw so frequently?
Those 9/11 survivors are right. You do forget the sound of their voice. Thankfully many of them have those voicemail recordings to remind them.
Time is a thief. Of a lot more than sounds.
The Warmth Of Their Love
This week I've been listening to a lot of female vocalists. Artists like Alexa Rose, Brittany Howard, Joan Shelley, Sheryl Crow, Tori Kelly and Freya Ridings.
It's gonna take heavy-duty AI-driven technology to flesh out how many songs exist about past love, broken love, missed love and all the other thievery that happens with love. Not just romantic love, but all sorts of love. Even a sentimental romantic like me grew tired this week of listening to all the songs about broken love. It goes to show you how universal it is.
Alfred Lord Tennyson wrote, "Better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all."
We all know it's better to have loved and not lost. Best to hang onto love.
A thief of love - just one thief because there are countless of them - is...