The Way Life’s Meant To Be is track five on side one of the original LP. I still have the copy I got for Christmas in sixth grade but I’m sad to say that it is scratched in a couple of places. It is on my current wish list if any of you would like ideas for my birthday. I did get it on cassette in high school and played it until the tape disintegrated. I did update to CD in the Nineties and downloaded the Special Edition off of iTunes a few years ago. None of this is really important to this post but I thought I’d give you a little bit of my history with this album. Back to the song at hand.
If there is a theme song for the entire album it is this track. That theme is idea of finding yourself in the future and realizing that home is no longer home. I think my favorite verse is this one.
Although it’s only a day since I was taken away
And left standing here looking in wonder (It’s your life, It’s your life)
Oh the ground at my feet, maybe it’s the old street
But everything that I know lies under (It’s your life, It’s your life)
And when I look what they’ve done to this place that was home
Shame is all that I feel
Oh, and I wonder, yes I wonder
Is this the way life’s meant to be
Unlike the protagonist of the album’s supposed story, I don’t get to return to 1981 at the end. All of the changes (both good and bad) are here to stay. All the confusion and disillusionment remains and I am left to deal with it. I have read that beginning with Time, Jeff Lynne was pretty much phoning it in so that he could get out of his record contract. While there may be some truth to that, I find it hard to believe that those albums (Time, Secret Messages, Balance Of Power) are nothing more than filler material that have no meaning. If nothing else, they all spoke to me during my teen years. I have difficulty accepting the fact that Jeff Lynne really wasn’t trying to say anything significant with those songs, especially since they say so much to me on a personal level.
I don’t feel this way as much as I used to, but there were many times during the past thirty years when I looked at my situation and wondered if it really was the way life was supposed to be. I made a lot of mistakes and took a lot of missteps that sent me down some crazy roads. The thought that life had somehow gotten messed up crossed my mind more times that I can count. I would be lying if I said that there are times even now when I wonder if I really ended up where I am supposed to be. I am more confident these days but I am still human, there are still doubts that arise from time to time. I can honestly say that this type of thinking doesn’t permeate my thoughts like it did fifteen or twenty years ago. I feel that God, even with my mistakes, has brought me to a place where He intends to use me.
So, when I hear this song nowadays it doesn’t being up the angst and doubt that it once did. I may pause and contemplate where I am, wondering if I am making the best out of my current situation, but I no longer fret about past mistakes and fear that my life is somehow out of whack or missing something. I give God credit for that. I believe that there are an infinite number of places I could be right now and that God would redeem any of them. For the first time in many years I am truly happy doing what I am doing. I feel like that this IS the way life’s meant to be and I am trying my very best to make the most of it.