Sometimes something sneaks up on you and changes how you view things. Such is the case with 42. No, I’m not talking about President #42. I’m talking about the number. I didn’t know it was following me over the years until recently.
For those who have never read “The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy”, the number 42 has a very specific meaning. It is the “Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything.” The book never says why. Which means that if we dig around long enough we will never get all the answers. The answer is just 42 according to author Douglas Adams.
For fans of the television show “LOST”, it had an impact on the show. It was one of the infamous six numbers that were actually created by the same character that became haunted by them in later years. The last of the 4-8-15-16-23-42 sequence. I have to believe the writers of the hit TV show had this in mind when they came up with 42 in the numbers.
The latest version of 42 came out last month with the release of Mumford and Sons fourth album, “Delta”. The opening track sets up the entire album.
“Where do I turn to, when there’s no choice to make. And how do I presume, when there’s so much at stake? I was so sure of it all.”
Upon first listen, I thought it was about love between two people. But I’ve listened to this song a lot since the album came out. I think it is much deeper than that.
“But what if I need you in my darkest hour? And what if it turns out there is no other? If this is our last hope, we would see a sign, we would see a sign.”
For me, it sounds like they are pleading to God. Waiting for some type of salvation, a sign to give our lives some type of meaning. Which gives the title of the song, “42”, give it extra significance.
“Well I’ve been running from the ashes we left. Forgiveness speaks for itself but how can I forget? When there’s a stain on it all.”
I love the part about forgiveness. I think it can be somewhat easy to forgive but we never forget. And sometimes we need to re-forgive someone or something, over and over again, until we get it right. But no one forgets. It may not hold the same impact, but it is still there. It becomes a part of the foundation of who you are, another building block.
“So give us a sign. I need some guiding light, children of darkness.”
If I had any doubt about this being about something spiritual for the band, that last line shatters those thoughts. We all need light in our life. We are all children of darkness. We look for it. Some of us in ways that make others shudder. Some look for it through family. Others through God. We are all looking. We are only human. We all want something better for our lives. That ending leads perfectly into the next song, “Guiding Light”. Which is probably my song of the year. It is just that great a song!
I don’t know what the heck this post means. It is like 42. Just go with it! Sometimes there aren’t easy answers that explain everything. I know I wrote about this once before somewhere in the 4,000 plus posts I’ve put on here, but the ONE thing that stuck with me in college was when a professor said this:
“Never stop asking questions.”
It is the searching that gives our life meaning. Not the answers. It’s the journey along the way. We stumble and we fall. We rise up and feel like we are on top of the world. But the true answer is there is no answer. Except to live and seek. To ask the questions that beg answers. To seek knowledge in the face of absolute darkness. We find and lose people in our lives. But there is one constant, above all else. And that is