The Effin Eagles: All I ever needed to know I found in a friggin Don Henley song


Ok
So I have been turning this old gem,“The Heart of the Matter” by Don Henley, over in my head for a while now. I have been bemused at why exactly Don Henley keeps jumping into my head and I think is about…add nausea…forgiveness.
I am just like Jeff Lebowski in one of the greatest movies of all time, The Big Lebowski, when he utters his contempt for the band, the Eagles, and almost gets thrown out of a cab. *If you have not ever viewed said movie stop reading this blog now and never read it again until you watch this movie at least 3 times from beginning to end.
I know they are great, the Eagles that is, and I am not fragging on them to be hip or cool but frankly I am on Eagles overdose and have been for a long, long time. I think it was the drunken requests of Hotel California at too many Frat parties of my salad days. Or perhaps how they were the greedy corporate counterpoint to Pearl Jam’s valiant battle with Ticket Master back in the days. They are a great band. I am not doubting that but darn I am sick of listening to them. But yet I am still stuck with this darn Don Henley song in my head, which granted is not a part of the Eagles canon.
But after an internal review, as the thing has constantly been running on replay in my neural cortex for weeks now, I think it is trying to tell me something, and admittedly something which we all could learn a thing or two.
Here are some of the lyrics:
I got the call today
That I didn’t wanna hear
But I knew that it would come
An old, true friend of ours was talkin’ on the phone
She said you’d found someone
And I thought of all the bad luck,
And the struggles we went through
And how I lost me and you lost you
What are these voices outside love’s open door
Make us throw off our contentment
And beg for something more?
I’m learning to live without you now
But I miss you sometimes

The Part above is not necessarily what is speaking to me. I get it. Don Henley or his songwriter persona has realized his pages have turned with a former love. But the next part really speaks to the…er…Heart of the Matter:

The more I know, the less I understand
All the things I thought I knew, I’m learning again
I’ve been tryin’ to get down
To the heart of the matter
But my will gets weak
And my thoughts seem to scatter
But I think it’s about…forgiveness
Forgiveness
Even if, even if you don’t love me anymore

Yep he is really onto something there.

Ah…these times are so uncertain
There’s a yearning undefined
And people filled with rage
We all need a little tenderness
How can love survive in such a graceless age?
Ah…the trust and self-assurance that lead to happiness
They’re the very things – we kill I guess…
Ohh pride and competition
Cannot fill these empty arms
And the work I put between us
You know it doesn’t keep me warm
I’m learning to live without you now
But I miss you, baby
And the more I know, the less I understand
All the things I thought I’d figured out
I have to learn again
I’ve been trying to get down
To the heart of the matter
But everything changes
And my friends seem to scatter
But I think it’s about…forgiveness
Forgiveness
Even if, even if, you don’t love me anymore
There are people in your life who’ve come and gone
They let you down, you know they hurt your pride
You better put it all behind you baby; cause’ life goes on
If you keep carryin’ that anger, it’ll eat you up inside, baby
I’ve been trying to get down
To the heart of the matter
But my will gets weak
And my thoughts seem to scatter
But I think it’s about forgiveness
Forgiveness
Even if, even if you don’t love me
I’ve been tryin’ to get down
To the heart of the matter
Because the flesh will get weak
And the ashes will scatter
So I’m thinkin’ about forgiveness
Forgiveness
Even if, even if, you don’t love me…
Forgiveness (yeah)
Forgiveness (baby)
Forgiveness (ohh)
Forgiveness (ahh yeaaahhh)
Forgiveness (ohh)
Forgiveness
Even if, you don’t love me anymore…

Trite? Maybe but the song has been worming around in my brain hole for some reason and I think Mr. Henley is nailing one of the truest sentiments we all need to embrace or more importantly allow ourselves to let go of. We have to forgive and go on with our lives. Carrying around anger and the pain that comes with it is like carrying all these fairly to moderately sized rocks around with us and what is a boulder? One big rock! Enough fairly or moderately sized rocks and this becomes a boulder too cumbersome to lug around with any semblance of peace or happiness.
You find the gems in the strangest places. Thanks Mr. Henley. So now that I have waxed on your late 80’s greatness perhaps now your song will leave me alone and quit popping up in my brain. Or perhaps it will stay with me and keep me honest with myself to do the very thing these lyrics insist I must.
I still am not going to like the Eagles though.

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