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Getting through the depression … with a little help from Vera Lynn

Like many Victorians, I am sick and tired of being locked down. Whether it’s justified or not, it still sucks. And it’s amazing how quickly the sense of losing one’s freedom leads to depression and dismay (just ask any prison inmate).

“Here we go again … we’re never going to get out of this … I just feel like packing up and moving away (when we have permission to travel more than five kilometres!) … What’s the point of trying to build a business when the government tells you that you’re not allowed to work? etc. etc.”

So, last Saturday, in a desperate effort to get out of the slough of despond into which I was sinking, I sat down and listened to an album of Vera Lynn’s entitled, “Vera Lynn remembers: The songs that won World War 2”.

When Lynn eventually died on June 18, 2020, at the age of 103, the BBC eulogised her as “one of the country’s most potent symbols of resilience and hope”. Songs like “Yours”, “A nightingale sang in Berkeley Square”, “We’ll meet again” and “The white cliffs of Dover” epitomised the hope and yearning of the British people — that truth and justice would ultimately triumph, and that scattered families would be reunited after the conflict.

So, what does this have to do with us today? Sitting in my lounge room, listening to Vera Lynn’s timeless songs, I started to imagine what it must have been like sheltering in a Tube station while death and destruction rained down from on high. And then I thought about our own lockdown, which in comparison, is rather mild. Sure, it’s not the best of times, but it’s not the worst of them either.

And I found myself singing,

There’ll be bluebirds over

The white cliffs of Dover


Just you wait and see

There’ll be love and laughter

And peace ever after

Tomorrow - When the world is free

After the war, comedian and entertainer Harry Secombe liked to joke that “Churchill didn’t beat the Nazis. Vera sang them to death.” All jokes aside, there may be some truth in that. The Bible promises that the Lord will preserve us from trouble and will surround us with songs of deliverance (Psalm 32.7).

Songs that free us from the shackles of spiritual oppression.

Songs that turn darkness into light, and mourning into dancing.

A garment of praise instead of a spirit of depression.

The prophet Zephaniah put it this way:

Sing, O daughter of Zion!

Shout, O Israel!

Be glad and rejoice with all your heart,

O daughter of Jerusalem!

The Lord has taken away your judgments,

He has cast out your enemy.

The King of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst;

You shall see disaster no more.

(Zephaniah 3.14-15)

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