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Bing Crosby: Count Your Blessings

Bing Crosby as Father O'Malley in "The Bells of St. Mary's."

Ann:  I keep hearing that song and your voice, and every time I turn around something heads me back to you.  Were you a bastard to your children?


Bing Crosby:  Well, hello.  It’s nice to meet you too.  But yes, I have been pushing you, so I guess I can’t complain when you push back.

          And to answer your question.  Yes and no.  I was doing what I believed to be right.  And so I thought strict child rearing would keep the children from my first family from becoming spoiled rich kids without skills or direction. 

It didn’t work.  As you know, all became alcoholics, two committed suicide, and one wrote a vicious and largely apocryphal book about me that brought him great deal of money.

          I do not take responsibility for their lives but have come to you today to offer insight to those out there who are traveling a path of certainty without give or accommodation to whatever realities they may confront.  I was one of those, raised in that mode by a devout and unforgiving mother who kept the children on the straight and narrow as she saw it. 

I  in turn did the same.  I took everything upon myself.  I was the decider, and all was my responsibility until it didn’t turn out well, and then I abdicated, left my children to do the best they could with what I had given them which I believed should have been enough.  I refused to let contrary information in.

          I had no evil intent, just a towering egoic conclusion that I and my church knew best, and that didn’t really change through the years.  In some ways I was a fine fella.  In others a complete and heartless bastard as you suggest.  I see the pain of those assumptions now, the effect that abandonment, hard heartedness, and unrelenting certainty has on the human soul.  It will be a long time before I purge myself of that which I did to others.


Ann:  Have you reincarnated?


Bing:  Yes, briefly and an excruciating experience it was.  Wisdom comes hard to the cold hearted, and that was my fatal flaw.  Empathy only with those whose values, whose way of life reflected my own. 

In many ways I had no curiosity.  I see now the many wonders that short sighted vision disguised.  The wonders of letting go, waiting to see what will happen next, of asking for guidance, and listening to the many replies we are given over the many moments of our lifetimes, for each such moment is in fact a lifetime in itself, and from each moment comes both the next and the next.  I simply refused to listen and learn.

          The tragedy was that I had the capacity but allowed it to be silenced by all that I deemed “mine,” my values, my church, my standards, and my talent which my family should by rights carry on.  Now I see what a wondrous thing it is to open to possibilities you have not considered, could not even dream of creating, and behold, wonder of wonders, as they come to be without your agency.

          “Count Your Blessings” is not just an old sentimental song.  It is the birthplace of a new life.  Gratitude and wonder.  These are the stepping stones to immortality in spirit. 

The children who graced my life had adventures of their own to undertake, quests to find their own holy grail rather than take mine into the next generation.  I am deep in atonement and yet still counting my blessings for all that they taught me at such personal cost to themselves, each on their own mission on planet earth.

          So when you get down about this or that, when the world looks like it is headed into the abyss, count your blessings, all that you are learning, all that you could never have conceived of rolling out in front of you as a many tiered blessing, no matter how dark things may seem at the time.


January 16, 2024

Free Image Credit: Wikimedia Images.

All blog entries are works of the imagination and are for spiritual and entertainment purposes only.

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Jan 20

While I understand that part of his journey here on earth was unforgiving and problematic for his family - this felt a bit harsh and unbalanced. I am not discounting any pain suffered by his family. But what about the joy and comfort he and his talent brought to millions of people - even still today? That has to count for something as a part of his incarnation too? My mother has dementia and his music and movies are the only thread she has back to her old self. It brings us both so much joy. And I am grateful to Bing for that.


Emerald Green
Emerald Green
Jan 19

When I saw Bings face my first thought was how abusive he was to his children, so kudos to you Ann for addressing that issue without hesitation. This post was articulated in such an outstanding way. The wisdom he imparted regarding the ownership of his human flaws, the pain his failures created, and the alternative solutions which could’ve helped others and his soul were expressed so effectively. Thank you for sharing this post Ann! 💜


Jan 19

I have to admit, my first thought upon receiving notice was "he must be in the company of my deceased mother and her husband"; the similarities are glaring.

Certainly, he can't, nor ought to, take responsibility for the tragic choices made by his children.

Nor ought he to glory or revel in their accomplishments; that is their hard fought for right.

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