Don’t be fooled by the talents… not all that sings is gold! I remember in July 2006 I woke up from a good night’s rest, stretched, yawned a couple of time and realized the heaviness I’d been carrying from my divorce (and another relationship that ended badly) was gone. My son had been put on a plane to return to his mother in Arizona just a couple of days prior so it is a curiosity to me that my general feeling of well-being was so good. Typically I am not very social in the days following my son’s departure. Then, on August 1st, 2006 I wrote my first complete song in years! Five years to be exact.
In case you don’t know this already, I’ve been in the music business for years. I tend to measure my emotional well-being by the act of writing complete songs. It’s not that I hadn’t tried to write a time or two during the five year drought, just nothing ended up in a completely finished state. August 1st, 2006 was a day that signaled I was ready to live again.
The subject matter of the song was about the events of the past years, it mentions details of the breakup of my marriage and some of the experiences in romance during the next 12 months. This was not an emotionally tough song to write, it was my second ‘Post Divorce’ song. I wrote a song about my first divorce (I hate saying that!) about a year or so after it had occurred also. That was a tough song to write, to this day it will draw tears from people who hear it if they are gripped by the same pain. For me, both songs articulated feelings at the time and helped to bring closure for me. Sometimes song writers are they’re own counselors.
Since August I’ve written several more complete songs, and even a few Shakepearean-like poems along the way. Didn’t know I was a poet too, did ya?
The deeply satisfying part of writing is when a finished work effects change in someone. I have a number of songs that can inspire to action, can bring tears, can move someone to mend fences, or to try again in relationships. It’s an amazing feeling to see it unfold during the course of a concert.
Song writers, if they are any good, are often put on a pedestal. I’ve never really been comfortable with such treatment since my roots are based in my Christian faith. As such, I always believed that Christ should get the glory for anything I’d done of value. I will receive a compliment graciously at this point but it was not always so. I don’t feel I need to remind someone that it is not I, but the Light within me that should be praised, that would belittle many whom innocently enough just want to say something nice. Still, don’t be fooled by the talents… not all that sings is gold!
So, you ask, what is it that truly inspires me? (Ok, maybe you’re not asking that…just go with it!)
I’m inspired most by those whom are down trodden, and yet are still able to reach beyond themselves to help another. I’m inspired by a kind word delivered at the right time that brings healing to someone. I’m inspired by how generously some forgive me after moments of complete thoughtlessness on my part. I’m inspired to aspire to those things.
I’ve only helped at a soup kitchen a few times in my life, I’m sure I’m missing something here. I rarely give money to beggars, after all, aren’t there rescue missions that will help. I’ve never offered to drive shut-ins to appointments or helped with grocery shopping or even offered to mow an elderly neighbor’s lawn. For all of my writing talent I possess I must remember it is only words, in taking stock of my life, I have done very little hands on work to help change my world. Not really the stuff of ‘pedestals’, now is it?
In the past year I’ve started to make some changes in this regard. I may only be able effectively help a few along the way, but this, it seems to me, is a legacy worth having. Some day in the future I would rather my children be inspired to aspire by how I reach out to another in need more than merely writing and singing about it. Don’t be fooled by the talents… not all that sings is gold! What do you aspire too?
Thanks for reading this far!