Eddie Van Halen has left us.
The lead guitarist for the eponymous rock group Van Halen, Eddie died of throat cancer on October 6, 2020.
Some of you, reading this, wept. Some recognized the name, and felt sorrow. And some, perhaps, wondered exactly who he was.
Eddie Van Halen was a rocker who live the rockstar life, and he was also a devout Catholic. Married for a quarter-centruy to the actress Valerie Bertinelli, he left a son, Wolfgang, who is a part of the current Van Halen lineup.
And he changed my life.
The band's signature song, Jump, has such a relentlessly cheerful beat and message...the first lines...
I get up and nothin' gets me down
You got it tough, I've seen the toughest around
And I know, baby, just how you feel
You got to roll with the punches and get to what's real
...became both inspiration and challenge. I wanted to live that.
And, to a large degree, I have (which has, no doubt, irritated many who know me!).
I never met Eddie Van Halen, of course, but as his brother Alex said, "I'll see you on the other side." I hope so!
So this brings to mind two things...
- He never new the profound impact Jump had on me, as an individual...and how many of us live in ignorance of what our words or deeds may have meant to others?
- He lived the dichotomy of drugs and booze and devout Catholicism...so what makes a 'good Christian'? Is there such a thing, or are we Christians, to God, simply 'Christians', steeped in worldly sin but holding to a faith that reaches up from the mud and mire?
There’s a silence on the airwaves,
the dial is not as bright;
all’s OK, for Jesus saves,
but we’ve lost a little light.
There’s a guitar waiting in its case
for hands that come no more;
in this now quiet, sadder place,
the Lord has closed a door,
and let us with a memory
to burnish through the years,
a headstone in a cemetery,
and private mourning tears.
Eddie did so much to please us,
and now it’s time to jam with Jesus.
And here's Van Halen, with my beloved Jump. (Please click here if the video doesn't come up.)