“I Don’t Know Much, But I Know I Love You”

This is an iconic song sung by Linda Ronstadt and Aaron Neville (written by Tom Snow, Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil).

Yet again, we see a paradigm in music that is true for us in life as well. So often these hits are sung by the face and sound of someone with magical talent, but written behind the scenes by someone else entirely (also with magical talent).

Everyone has a story. Everyone has a story worth listening to I might add. I truly believe more than ever that all people matter and so do the details of their journey here on Earth. Not everyone has the time, or clout, or lyrical acumen to turn their story into a song that everyone will fall in love with. But, having said that, what song would be playing in the background of your life right now if you had a one-hit wonder circulating?

I’m not suggesting that this would be my song. I haven’t thought that hard about my own question so don’t hold me to this curation from 1989. I will say though that the lyrics impressed me this morning when I IMAGINED my own soul singing to my own physical frame. I know, that sounds weird. I am the first to say these days that I AM a little bit weird in the way that I think. I assure you though that the way I think is less “weird” and more deep and many layered. I find myself able to be moved by so much of life’s offerings now that I have my life back. Having lived a journey of disconnect from my core and all the needs down in there, that act alone landed me in treatment for an eating disorder and with a starved mind giving way to a mental disorder. Re-establishing order to both my life and my mind is a battle not easily fought and one that, so far, I’ve been unable to do alone. It’s fascinating really. We can systematically dismantle our entire life all by ourselves brick by brick. But, I firmly believe that when we need a period of repair we simply cannot go that road alone and it does zero good to start throwing stones at those helping you with your rubble. The only thing that keeps you from that futile exhaustion is self reflection and acceptance met with COPIOUS amounts of surrender. Those values have become my greatest ally. So, here we are. Here I am. I’m using song lyrics from the 80’s to coach myself into acceptance for today. I’m not sorry about that. I’m embracing that this morning. And, I am also speaking to you about it. I’m not speaking to you because a whole lot of people are listening. I speak and write because others on my journey choose not to or can’t put that deeper layered level of living into words. I can. So, I do…. for my own self and also for the one who may need to feel not so very alone. I follow my stats from time to time. I average 4 readers. I am okay with this and because of the way I log in to read my own writing, scanning for dumb errors and mispronunciations, I am counted in the actual tally of readers. How’s that for humbling and also being my own supporter?! I don’t care about my rating right now as much as I care about hearing myself, watching the repair of my crumbled life and the one or two or perhaps three passers by that may benefit from my own thoughts along this journey. Period.

What’s my point here? My point is simple. Do you hear yourself? If there was a compilation of catchy lyrics met with the symphony of instruments and purity of voices in harmony singing the song of your story what would it sound like? Would it be pleasant? Would it be up beat? Would it be melancholic? Would it be from the gut or would it just be for the people so it too would get all the ratings and be radio ready? Who are you playing for? Can your physical frame, your daily grind meet the demand of the song you’re putting out there? Or are you ignoring your soul’s depth in order to play something more appealing to the public? I assure you that “way” will prove beneficial, but it’s not sustainable. It’s deceiving really. Our gifts, talents, capabilities, skill sets, etc. …. these DO carry us. But they are a reflection of us. The clearest picture of who we are is not seen in what we produce, but in what we have to say about ourselves from the inside. It’s the same for this song. Aaron Neville and Linda Ronstadt are singing for someone else’s story or for what they can do, but didn’t actually write.

Are you?

It’s a slippery slope this one fantastic life of ours. We can put a song out there into the world that is the reflection of what we want others to hear or see based on our capabilities and performance. Or … we can write our own music, sing that, maybe NOT hit a chart or two, but be living out loud the reality of who we are on the inside. We have a choice in that. That choice requires vulnerability and self reflection. We have time for that, but we have to make and take the time we have for that based on today’s pace and do that in order to represent ourselves uniquely. So many of us go about our days singing the song that others want to hear. Mainstream music is an industry that, and thank God, a place has been given to Singer Songwriters, who know intimately and painfully the difference between singing capably the song others want you to and bearing their own soul’s words and sound which may or may not get picked up by the people in charge.

I’m not saying much here, but rather posing a question. Does the life you lead right now sing itself in harmony with the peace you’ve found with yourself on the inside? Or are you too singing a tune that you think others want to hear more and you’re driven by that expectation, but it isn’t entirely a reflection of you? Just give that a moment of thought, a snippet of time to reflect on. You have time today. Maybe not much, but you are indeed worthy of your time.

I believe in us.

The Woman at the Well

There’s a story in the Bible in John chapter 4 that has long been my favorite. I am NO biblical scholar and for me to describe its significance is like a kindergartener reciting the alphabet. But here goes….

Basically it was the middle of the day. As in the hottest part of the day. The time of day that ordinary women did not go to the well to draw water because it was so stinking hot out. Nevertheless, this far from ordinary woman hauled her vessel to the well at the hottest part of the day likely to avoid interactions with other women because she had some serious baggage. She was probably the talk of the town somehow and ridiculed or judged because her life story was less than pretty. She had serious relationship struggles and had made her way through not one, but five divorces and the man she was with now wasn’t her husband. In this day and time that rap sheet made her “damaged goods”. She was considered an epic failure. Or maybe she was just a woman looking for love in all the wrong places… or just looking for love in general. Nevertheless, she went out of her way at the hardest, hottest point of the day simply to avoid being around other women that would exacerbate the shame she already felt in what her life held.

Here she was doing her thing in what she hoped would be isolation. But, she ran into a man sitting on the edge of the well she came to draw from. This was a bit of an inconvenience especially because when she arrived He spoke to her and asked her for a drink of water. This too was an atrocity in that day. No man asked a Samaritan woman for a drink of water, much less a woman who was considered “dirty”, but this guy had the audacity to break the code of silence between them. He had the audacity to ask her for a drink of water suggesting she was capable. It’s an awkward situation really, but even right there at the beginning of their interaction, I believe Jesus was calling out the honor He saw in her and was declaring her worthy. Something she likely didn’t feel on the daily. He blew up the status quo with his request of her. She contested his request based on her status and He began to tell her all that he already knew about her and her story. Talk about a vulnerable moment. But, talk about a magical one as well. Here is a woman clearly having hauled herself to the well in some form of living shame and there’s a guy, of all people, telling her that she was worth interacting with and strong enough and whole enough to give him a drink of water despite her rap sheet. They talked back and forth for a bit even when His fellow disciples showed up and found Him deep in interaction with her. They showed up and were shocked that Jesus was speaking with the town’s dirt bag of a woman. He didn’t shy away. He continued to tell her that despite her story she was more than worth His time. Despite her failed marriages and the relationship she was currently in that she was still of value and that she too could have the freedom and healing and eternal water that quenched all the thirst in her spirit. She was being offered an opportunity to know that she didn’t have to feel empty and hollow and ashamed anymore. She didn’t have to feel like crap about who she was and where her story had taken her.

In this text it states that Jesus “had” to go through Samaria….. He was on his way to Galilee. He could’ve gotten there another way. But, in some sort of mystery He chose to go this way, through Samaria, on that day, when He had to know that this woman would be there. Basically, He went out of His way to speak life and truth and hope into the heart of a woman who felt broken and damaged and ashamed.

If He could show up for her…. then we can strongly deduce that He would do the same for us. No matter what your story holds. No matter where you’ve been or where you are now, you are strong and worthy and deserve to feel free just like everyone else. There’s no rut too deep, no story too heinous, no one thing or a hundred things that can disqualify you from the honor that He was bestowing on this woman.

I just want to say this: no matter where you’ve been – you are of infinite worth and value. No matter where you are going and what’s ahead for you – you are of infinite worth and value. No matter what you need to change, or work on, or make right in your life – you are of infinite worth and value.

And that truth, my friends, is liberating to say the least.

I believe in us.