There’s a song that’s been stuck in my head for a while. It’s a song about betrayal, sung by a dead man (and sometimes Willie Nelson). It’s not a song about a cheating lover; it’s a song about the betrayal of a friend. It tells the tale of a blatant, in-your-face sell-out, neither clever nor sneaky. Worse than an outright fight, more heartbreaking than angry insults, it’s a betrayal that destroys lives.
The song is set in a brightly-colored tropical country, a country of peasants with mind-your-own sorrows attitudes. There’s crime and virtue in the song and, of course, disappointment. There is heat and dust.
The one betrayed dies and becomes legend. The betrayer lives on in obscurity and regret.
The first time I was betrayed I was a fourth-grader. I never spoke to the offender again. I was angry and hurt, but it wasn’t hard to move on. I knew I could do without a friend like that.
Adult betrayals are not always so simple. Sometimes necessity overrides treachery. Sometimes affection gets in the way especially if the betrayer betrays themselves as well. Forgiveness is in order, though it may not be easy to forget.
Sometimes the betrayal overrides any chance of forgiveness. What are we to do when we’re being betrayed at an unparalleled level of treachery by people in power? Confrontation does no good. Criticism has no effect. The devil has no shame.
Perhaps this epic double-cross can’t be sung…or perhaps it just hasn’t been sung yet. Perhaps there is someone out there who can sing the truth of it. To catch on, it will need a strong voice and a loud guitar. It will need an earthy base, a soulful drummer, and a honky tonk keyboard player so as not to frighten the innocent. It will need words like “dust” and “destiny.” It will need courage, dedication and sleepless nights. It might need horses.
There are some people voicing solemn refrains but often their voices fall flat, are discordant or masked by shrill duplicity. But time and determination have a way of airing treachery and sounding out revelation. Resonance is eminent.
Then for us to move on, cells with strong bars will be needed.