Book Review: Between Heaven and the Real World – My Story by Steven Curtis Chapman

I just finished this remarkable book. Steven Curtis Chapman is an incredibly talented song writer, singer, actor, and author. The book is very interresting even captivating. It is very well written, but what I loved most about the book is that author seems so down to earth. This multi-talented man comes across as a fellow struggler with his own insecurities, doubts, and shortcomings. What’s so refreshing is that he is willing to write about them. 

The book largely centers around the effects of tragedy on faith and family. The Chapman family was hit hard with a tragic accident in which one of their children accidentally hit and killed one of their other children. Such an event would cause anyone to question the existence of God or at least make us wonder what God is doing. 

Chapman doesn’t sugar coat it. He writes openly about impact it had on his faith and his family. In a world of white-washed Christianity, this book stands out to me as refreshing. Chapman doesn’t just write about Christianity, he lives it; struggles and all. The concept everything works out in the end and they go on to live happily ever after is not in the book.  The hand of God giving hope for the hopeless is. 

I always love to hear the stories behind the songs people write. Therefore, biographies about musicians and song writers are among my favorite books. This one, however, stands above the rest for its authenticity and openness. The message behind the songs is much more powerful than the songs themselves and that’s saying a lot. 

This is a great book for those who have been let down or disappointed with their faith in God. It’s a sad story, but it is also inspiring. 

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Thirty Years of Sobriety

Today marks my thirtieth year of sobriety. Thirty years ago I was in the Marine Corps. I had just returned from my 2nd deployment overseas at the end of 1986. Within just a couple months of buying a car, I had managed to get two DUI’s in spite of my sincerest  intentions of never drinking and driving. I had already applied for the Marine Corps most intensive alcohol treatment program referred to simply as “Level Three.” However, treatment didn’t start immediately. They put me on Antabuse but that really didn’t help matters. I was on Antabuse when I got my second DUI. 

That second DUI woke me up. I figured I had already crossed the line as far as the Marine Corp, and I expected to be kicked out. I was very depressed. A couple months earlier, a good friend of mine was in a car accident which broke his neck and rendered him a quadriplegic. He was in the hospital 500 miles away near San Francisco. I figured before I got kicked out, I wanted to go see him. My last drink was with my friend in San Francisco. 

My friend really impressed me, as he always has. He had been the encouraging element in the company who inspired everybody to keep pushing up the hill even during our most arduous journeys. Everybody would be about ready to pass out carrying their packs and weapons and there’d come Frank carrying two machine guns and practically running up the hill with smile on his face. 

Now here I was feeling sorry for myself while my friend lied in bed unable to move his arms or legs. I don’t know where that type of strength comes from unless its God, but seeing him with his undefeatable attitude gave me new direction and determination. I have never drank since. I not only quit drinking, I quit all recreational drug use along with smoking cigarettes. That was a pivotal moment in my life. I was never the same. 

I’ve included some pictures of my former life because they represented what was important to me back then. The picture above was taken in my BAQ room around Christmas time 1985 after returning from my first deployment. I was overly thin at the time because I was very sick on ship after getting a throat infection from eating something I shouldn’t have in the Philippines.   I had taken the clothes out of my locker so we could fill it with beer. My locker door is decorated with pornagraphic pictures and I’m walking around with a cigarette wasted out of mind. 

My friends and I decided not to take leave since we were given 8 days off anyway, and 8 days were simply a continuation of the party we had while overseas. Like so many of those days, the pictures are the only memories I have. I was only 22 when I quit drinking, but I think I drank more than most drink in a lifetime during those formative years of my life. 

My first drinks were in elementary school, and drinking lead to smoking, and to trying whatever drugs were out there. I started shooting up when I was 17, and returned to it some when I was in the Marines. I guess I sort of had an “A Ha experience,” with my drinking. One day I just seemed to wake up realizing that I was the source of my own misery and most of my troubles were directly tied to the influence of drugs and alcohol. I quit because I was convinced that if I didn’t quit, I’d be dead. 

My best friends at the time: Bob and Frank. Frank broke his neck in an accident about a year after this picture was taken.


Still, I was a pretty high bottom drunk. The Marines didn’t kick me out. I went on to change companies and even get promoted. I did a complete about face. I still hung out with my friends for a while, but I lost that common element that brought us together. Eventually, I started reading the Bible and attending church. As I stopped hanging out with my old friends, I started getting to know people from church who started me down a whole new path. 

Even after thirty years, I still hear that little voice in my head saying, “one little drink won’t hurt you.” I’d like to think that I have more willpower now than I did back then and maybe just maybe I could control it now. But that’s not a chance I’m willing to take. I’m compulsive by nature. I still have the obsession to be constantly drinking something even now. It’s just that the something is usually either coffee or water, but I can rarely be found without something to drink. 

I crave alcohol when I go into certain resturants even today. I can’t eat Mexican food without craving a Margarita. I can’t eat pizza without wishing I could have a beer or a pitcher of beer. At moments of severe depression and desperation, I naturally think of the bottle that used to numb my pain. I’ve even gone as far as buying a bottle once only to poor it down the sink when sanity was restored. 

Even though I’ve had my weaker moments, I’m quite firm in my resolve. I despise alcohol for the lives it has wrecked. It has always seems ironic to me that out of all the harmful drugs which are illegal, alcohol and cigarettes have destroyed more lives than all the other drugs combined, but they are perfectly legal and socially accepted. 

A while ago my cousin’s child was killed by a drunk driver, a young man about the age of my own son caused the accident. He killed two people that day and injured a third and while everyone was crying out for justice while mourning the loss of the boys killed, my heart was broke for the young man who did the crime. Why? That could have been me. That was me. Now he’s in prison and his life is stripped from him. He will be about my age when he gets out.  It’s such a shame. 

My life is so different these days that it hard to even imagine my old self. I’m so glad that part of my life was over before my real life began. I would go on to college, I would marry and have children. My wife and children would never know the man I was then. They know I’m a flawed person. They’ve seen me depressed, discouraged, angry and incredibly goofy. But none of them has ever seen me drunk. That life was over before my new one began. I thank God for that.   

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Father and Son: Man to Man

A couple of weeks ago my son and I took a road trip together to the Grand Canyon. This was a very special trip for me for a couple reasons: First, seeing the Grand Canyon is one of the things on my bucket list. I’ve been wanting to go as far back as I can remember. There have been several times I have been very close, but since I was driving a semi, there was no way for me to take a detour in that direction. Second, this trip allowed my son and I quality time to be together which has unfortunately been very rare for us.

It was a fast trip (almost 3000 miles in 5 just days), and it was just him, me, and the dog. For him, it was the first time traveling that far west. For both of us, it was the first time to get to explore some of the most beautiful areas of the country. My family is something dearly important to me. So making a living as a truck driver where I had to spend most of my time gone was nothing short of torture. Even when I made it home I was so stressed out and wore out that I was incapable of being a very good father. 

I’ve always considered the movie “Click” to be one of the saddest movies I’ve ever seen. I don’t think I’ve ever cried so much over a movie in my life. To me it was heart breaking. The movie is supposed to be somewhat of a comedy about a remote controls that allows the father to fast forward through life. By the time he realizes he was fast forwarding through all the special moments in life, it was too late. That’s how I felt as my children were growing. I was gone too much. I didn’t see it as a choice. I had to make a living, and that was the only possible way I could find of earning a livable wage, but it cost me dearly. My children grew up so fast, and I was practically a stranger in my own home. 

My children are grown now, and I no longer have to make a living driving a truck. Fortunately, my children are not far from us and I can see them quite often. Still I regret the time I missed and the mistakes made as they were growing. My son is quiet and he rarely talks on the phone. Even when we are together, conversation doesn’t always take place. But sometimes we go for a walk or do something together and that’s when we talk. Those moments are very special to me. I’ve made lots of mistakes as a parent, but I think the important things still managed to get passed down to both my children. Things like faith in God, compassion, respect, self-discipline, a desire for learning, a commitment to responsibilities, humility, and a sense of faireness are most of the qualities I wanted to instill in my children and I think they were. 

Spending time alone with my children has always been quite rare, and for that reason always special. I’m a natural born worrier. Worrying might be the only thing I have found that I am actually good at, but it’s not a desired quality. I’m known to freak out once in a while because I get worried about my children, but when I can actually get alone and talk with them, my worrying subsides and I become impressed by the character that exist in my children. 

That little man out there is me. I don’t think I have ever felt so unbelievably small.


I can’t remember a time when my son and I have had 5 days alone together. We talked about so much. One of our favorite topics these days is politics. I had given up on politics years ago, and it was my son who was able to transform my whole outlook on politics. I think we both found hope in Bernie Sanders, and even though he didn’t become president, our hope in his leadership still exist in a very big way. We both love history which has had a profound impact on our political views.  We share a love of music together. Both of us play guitar, but neither of us is what we would consider good.   We also share a desire for fitness even though neither of us could be considered athletic. These are all things we have learned about together over the years. However, a good portion of the learning has been independent of each other, but we still manage to have the same conclusions. 

It’s different now. It’s not so much a parent-son relationship anymore. In so many ways, my son has outgrown me. He is about 6 inches taller, he is a superior reader, I  can’t even begin to touch his math skills, and be many indications more intelligent than I am. I’m probably still stronger with a bit more endurance, but he is catching up quickly if he hasn’t passed me already. I think there is mutual respect between us, and as a father I couldn’t have hoped for more. We can talk about our different perspectives of tragic events that effected our family. We definately saw things from different perspectives, but there is no hostility. I think we can recognize each other’s strengths and weaknesses without envy or bitterness. 

Father’s don’t seem to be as popular with the children as mothers. We’re usually more abrasive and consumed by the pressures of providing for the family. It is not unusual for relationships to strained between the father and his children, but this is unfortunate and something I hoped would never happen to me. I love my children. I always have and I can’t imagine that ever changing. Still, my mistakes have hurt them a great deal just like my parent’s mistakes have hurt me. It seems to be an unfortunate point of life, but perhaps is all part of the growing process.

My daughter is a parent now, and even though I admire so much about her, I feel the relationship is still strained by past events. I’m sure she is going to raise her child differently than she was raised. She will try to protect her child from the pain she experienced, just like I tried to protect my children from the pain I experienced. I hope she is more successful. 

Life throws us curves that nobody expects. When dreams shatter and tragedy hits that’s when real life takes place and real life hurts. I wish I could have protected my children from pain, but I could not. Perhaps all I can hope for as time goes by is my children will understand just like I understand about my parents; my parents love me, and they did the best they knew how to do in the situations they faced. 

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The Call

Martin Luther King came to Montgomery, Alabama in September 1954 to become pastor of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church. He had accepted his first pulpit while completing his doctorate in philosophical theology at Boston University, a decision that marked a fork in the road for a young man who had planned to become a college president someday.

Although the young pastor arrived in Montgomery with no intention of becoming involved in social protest, events prepared the ground for his emergence as leader of the now-famous Montgomery bus boycott that began with Rosa Parks’ refusal to give up her seat to a white man. At the urging of the Rev. Ralph Abernathy, then pastor of the First Baptist Church, King reluctantly accepted the presidency of the Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA), the pastors’ group leading the boycott, on the assumption that the controversy would be resolved quickly. Instead, the boycott stretched into 1956, spawning escalating tensions between black leaders and white officials. King, conflicted over his new role, was in crisis.

The pressures of the recent arrests, city crackdowns, and mounting fears had started taking their toll. In an organizational meeting on January 23, 1956 a despondent King offered his resignation as MIA president. None of the other MIA board members seriously considered accepting the resignation, but King’s self-doubts had been registered loud and clear. He even planned to publish an advertisement in the Montgomery Advertiser reminding townspeople that the boycott was not seeking to challenge segregation laws. The protest was approaching its third month with no end in sight.

The season of police harassments reached a dramatic climax on Thursday, January 26, 1956, when King was stopped by two police officers on motorcycles after having chauffeured several Negro workers to their drop-off spot. In a confusing roadside arrest, King was charged with driving thirty miles an hour in a twenty-five-mile-per-hour zone and placed into a police cruiser, which had presently arrived on the scene. As King sat alone in the back seat, he quickly realized that the police car was moving in the opposite direction of downtown. The car then turned into an unfamiliar street, and through a wooded area and over an unfamiliar bridge, and King’s hands began to shake. “These men were carrying me to some faraway spot to dump me off,” he thought. “Silently, I asked God to give me the strength to endure whatever came.”

The neon sign that appeared on a building in full view of the car indicating their arrival at the Montgomery City jail must have seemed an unlikely answer to prayer, though appreciated in its own way. Inside, King was fingerprinted and locked into a crowded holding cell. “Strange gusts of emotion swept through me like cold winds on an open prairie,” he recalled.

As he slowly adjusted to the shock of the new surroundings, he found himself the center of attention. A crowd of black inmates gathered excitedly around him, and King was surprised to find two acquaintances, who offered their hearty greetings, locked up with the rest of them. King spent the evening listening to stories of thieves and drunks and drifters, and in exchange he gave the men a vivid account of his afternoon. Several asked if King could help get them out of jail. “Fellows, before I can assist in getting any of you out,” he said, “I’ve got to get my own self out,” and the cell was filled with laughter.

King had crossed the first threshold of fear and there discovered that presence of mind could still be summoned. In the spirited company of these unlikely allies-movement people, “vagrants,” and “serious criminals”-he realized that even jail could be endured for the sake of doing the right thing. “From that night on, my commitment to the struggle for freedom was stronger than ever before,” he said. “Yes, the night of injustice was dark; the ‘get-tough’ policy was taking its toll. But in the darkness I could see a radiant star of unity.”

King’s release later the same night no doubt made the radiant star even easier to behold. Dozens of church members and friends in the protest had steadily gathered in the parking lot throughout the evening and waited for their pastor.

But whatever momentary relief King felt was gone the next evening when he returned to his parsonage, exhausted after another long day of organizational meetings. Coretta and their two-month-old daughter, Yolanda, were already asleep, and King was eager to join them. He would not be so lucky. The phone rang out in the midnight silence, and when King lifted the receiver, a drawl released a torrent of obscene words and then the death threat: “Listen, nigger, we’ve taken all we want from you; before next week you’ll be sorry you ever came to Montgomery.”

King hung up without comment, as had become his custom. Threatening phone calls had become a daily routine in the weeks of the protests, and King had tried to brush them off at first. In recent days, however, the threatening phone calls had started to take a toll, increasing in number to thirty or forty a day and growing in their menacing intent.
Unwelcome thoughts prey on the mind in the late hours, and King was overcome with fear. “I got out of bed and began to walk the floor. I had heard these things before, but for some reason that night it got to me.
Stirred into wakefulness, King made a pot of coffee and sat down at the kitchen table. “I felt myself faltering,” he said. It was as though the violent undercurrents of the protest rushed in upon him with heightened force, and he surveyed the turbulent waters for a way of escape, searching for an exit point between courage and convenience-“a way to move out of the picture without appearing a coward”-and he found none. “I was ready to give up,” he said.
King thought of baby Yoki sleeping in her crib, of her “little gentle smile,” and of Coretta, who had sacrificed her music career, according to the milieu of the Baptist pastor’s wife, to follow her husband south. For the first time, he grasped the seriousness of his situation and with it the inescapable fact that his family could be taken away from him any minute, or more likely he from them. He felt himself reeling within, as the Psalmist had said, his soul “melted because of trouble, at wit’s end.” “I felt myself . . . growing in fear,” said King.

Sitting at his kitchen table sipping the coffee, King’s thoughts were interrupted by a sudden notion that at once intensified his desperation and clarified his options. “Something said to me, ‘You can’t call on Daddy now, you can’t call on Mama. You’ve got to call on that something in that person that your daddy used to tell you about, that power that can make a way out of no way.'” With his head now buried in his hands, King bowed over the kitchen table and prayed aloud. He said:
Lord, I’m down here trying to do what’s right. I still think I’m right. I am here taking a stand for what I believe is right. But Lord, I must confess that I’m weak now, I’m faltering. I’m losing my courage. Now, I am afraid. And I can’t let the people see me like this because if they see me weak and losing my courage, they will begin to get weak. The people are looking to me for leadership, and if I stand before them without strength and courage, they too will falter. I am at the end of my powers. I have nothing left. I’ve come to the point where I can’t face it alone.

As he prayed alone in the silent kitchen, King heard a voice saying, “Martin Luther, stand up for righteousness. Stand up for justice. Stand up for truth. And lo, I will be with you. Even until the end of the world.” Then King heard the voice of Jesus. “I heard the voice of Jesus saying still to fight on. He promised never to leave me, never to leave me alone. No never alone. No never alone. He promised never to leave me, never to leave me alone.”
And as the voice washed over the stains of the wretched caller, King reached a spiritual shore beyond fear and apprehension. “I experienced the presence of the Divine as I had never experienced Him before,” he said. “Almost at once my fears began to go,” King said of the midnight flash of illumination and resolve. “My uncertainty disappeared. I was ready to face anything.”

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The Church at Work

I don’t always get to see it, but it sure is inspiring when I do. Sometimes I think churches lose sight of their purpose. Some will become so consumed with orthodoxy and ambiguous doctrinal matters that they completely forget to be pratient, forgiving, and loving towards each other. They also seem to forget that the church is about more than coming together on Sunday morning to sing songs, pray, and listen to a sermon.

Last Sunday as the sermon concluded, one of the men stood up to the microphone and asked for volunteers who could help a lady move. She had been evicted from her house and needed to get her possessions out until she could find a permanent place to stay. You never know how many people will be able to show up for something like that, but I was available and I even had my pickup with me. 

I was really happy to see that a whole bunch of men showed up. Many with pickups and trailers, and in the matter of a couple hours the stuff was moved. It is incredible what can be accomplished when people work together. It would have taken that woman and her kids days to do what we were able to do in just a couple hours. It would have also cost her all sorts of money that she didn’t have. Instead, I think we had fun and felt good as we worshipped our God through our service. 

I suppose we helped her out, but as I thought about it more I thought how she was really helping all of us out. It’s degrading to have to ask for help; nobody wants to be a burden to others. We like to pride ourselves in our self sufficiency and as a result we lose sight of something incredibly powerful and even beautiful. 

I think all of us know how difficult it can be to move. Sometimes you can get help, other times you can’t. But when the church comes together to help somebody it is rarely a burdin. In fact, I can’t remember a single time when the church has come together to help somebody in need that it wasn’t an enjoyable experience. It was a blessing straight from the creator.  Everybody seems to work together each doing the tasks that they are suited for. Some will bring food, some will socialize, some will do the lifting, some will direct traffic, some will put together furniture, and everybody seems to have good time doing it. The job gets done, God is glorified, and people are blessed. That’s the church in action. 

I’ve been the receiver and I’ve been the giver. Even though it is better to give than receive, all are blessed by the process, and all have God to thank. Little acts of kindness are so very important in helping people through what could have been a very difficult experience. 

I’ve seen it a thousand times in a thousand different ways and each time I have been blessed and inspired. It doesn’t matter if it’s helping a person move, repairing damage after a tornado, building a house of worship, or helping a young couple to get on their feet. The church is at it’s best when it leaves the building and gets to work. 

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Time Off

Whitaker Point


I love my job. I love the people, I love the location, and I love the purpose. I also love getting a week off every month. It’s not always smooth sailing of course, finances are limited, and I still get frustrated and depressed from time to time, but overall I can’t remember a time when I was happier. Right after beginning our job, my wife’s mother was diagnoses with ALS (amyotrophic laterals sclerosis), so Paula has been spending her time off at her parent’s. But this week, we’ve been together which has been very nice. 

I’ve been wanting to explore the area around the Buffalo River for quite some time now. I’ve been reading and researching the scenery and hiking trails for months now. There are several places I want to see, but most involve a lot of walking up some rugged terrain, and my wife just isn’t into that nor does she have the same endurance I have. Still she agreed to try and that means a lot to me. So Wednesday we took a two hour drive to the trail leading to Whitaker Point which overlooks the Buffalo River. 

I’m sure Paula didn’t enjoy the hike as much as I did. It was hard for her, and she is scared of heights. But she went and I was grateful to have her company. 

Paula & I posing in front of a big rock.

Paula walking up one of the hills. She didn’t really appreciate the hike

 

After Whitaker Point we spent a night in an old hotel in Harrison, AR. I thought for sure it was haunted, but we didn’t see a single ghost. What a disappointment. Since we were already in Harrison, we drove up to Branson even though we were planning staying in Branson for the weekend with Paula’s parents. We drove around and decided we both really wanted to play with our granddaughter so we went to Searcy to get her and take her to the zoo in Little Rock. Grace was sick, and that is where all the problems began. We still had a good time and it would be a couple days before Paula and I would become sick ourselves. 

We spend the weekend in a Branson resort. It was very nice. 


 Paula and I honeymooned in Branson back in 1990. That was the first time I was there. During our stay we went though one of those drive through safari type things. We have some very special memories of the place and always wanted to return, but neither of us were sure where it was. Nor did we know if the place was even still in business. So we tried to find the place. There was a place up be Springfield, so we figured that must be it. I’m not sure it was, but it was fun anyway. 

 The monkey pictured here, I believe is the one that scared my wife so bad back when we first visited almost 27 years ago. 

The picture to my left is Paula cowering down because the monkey was on top of the cage screaming which really freaked her out. Me being the kind sympathetic man I was simply laughed and took a picture. Yes I know; I’m awful. I would like to think I’ve changed over the years. 

This picture was taken during our recent trip. I would like to think 
it’s the same monkey, but the truth is, we can’t even be totally sure it’s the same park. 

Paula was able to make friends with the giraffe, but I don’t think she liked his big tongue that would swoop down to get the food. 
I think Paula is more comfortable with the smaller animals like the one pictured on the right. Either way we had fun and got to drive through the grounds where there were all sorts of animals out. Some were determined not to let us through until we fed them. Since they were bigger than our vehicle we coughed up what we could.

We spent most of the time in Branson shopping. Paula’s mother decided to go zip lining, but that just seemed like too much money for a couple seconds of thrill, so I just watched. I would have gone if Paula was willing, but that ain’t gonna happen. 

By the time we left Branson, Paula and I were pretty sick and seemed to just be getting worse by the minute. Our son-in-law was having trouble breathing and went in the hospital, so I went back to Searcy to watch the little one. She seemed to be feeling better, but my daughter wanted me to take her to the doctor. We sat there for two hourse before Tabitha said she would take her the next day. 

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Discouragement 

It’s such a powerful word because we all go through it, but about the only time we ever really talk about it is when we think we have conquered it. Then we feel like the learned professor giving the lesson on overcoming it. We’re not supposed to be discouraged. Some may even think it’s ungodly to be discouraged. Discouragement is closely linked with depression and these are not considered commendable traits. We all feel them at times, but we will do our  best to hide or deny that such feelings exist. In fact, if you’re reading this, I bet you are expecting advice on overcoming this flaw in character. Well you can stop reading it now because it is not going to be one of those posts. And I don’t think its a flaw in character. I think it’s normal. 

The truth is I am feeling discouraged and I just felt like writing about it. There is no need for advice. I’ll get over it; I always do. Then it comes again, I get over again, and round and round it goes. Discouragement is just a part of life, for some more than others I suppose. The last thing I need when I’m feeling down is hearing from some well-meaning person who  quotes some Scripture or recommends some book or speaker that will surely pull me right out of the dumps. Sometimes all I really want to do is share my thoughts to anyone who might even be remotely interested. Weird huh? Well it’s a whole lot cheaper than a psychiatrist and 100 times more effective. 

So why am I feeling discouraged? I mean I wasn’t feeling that discouraged yesterday. So what happened? Well, I’m sure a bad nights rest didn’t help matters. The rest is probably nothing more than failed expectations. My day started with a 5K run. I put a lot of effort into caring for my body. I hit the gym at least 5 times a week and this is not a new thing for me. I do strength training as well as a good amount of cardio. When I leave the gym, I am usually drenched with sweat. So it’s really heartbreaking when I don’t really see much improvement at all. I was really hoping the 5K would reward my efforts. Well, it didn’t. I was very disappointed even though I felt as if I had give maximum effort. 

But fitness is not my only  disappointment. I have been attempting to play guitar now for a number of years. I’m not sure how many, but there are professionals with less time playing. I like music and I have always felt drawn to it, but it wasn’t until I was in my  mid 40’s that I started trying to play. I tried to play drums when I was child, but nobody liked the racket, and that what it was: racket. I was never any good at it. I’ve always liked to make up stupid little song lyrics as far back as I can remember. It’s usually when playing music and making up stupid little songs that I’m happiest. I really just like to goof around with it. But it’s hard too. 

Coming up with chord rhythms and melodies to go with lyrics is time consuming, not to mention highly irritating to those around you who are sick and tired of hearing the same old riff over and over again. My wife hates all my songs for that reason. That and the fact she just doesn’t have much sense of humor; either that or my humor is way out of wack.  With all the time I have spent trying to play guitar, I feel I should be a lot farther along. Even songs that I have learned quite well, I forget them quickly and if dare to play in front of people I mess up about 90% of the time. 

Another hobby of mine is blogging which I have also dedicated a large amount of time to for minimal results. Some have said I’m good at it, but my stats don’t lie. People just are not reading it. I mean there are few, but it’s incredibly rare that anyone even leaves a comment, and I was really hoping for meaningful dialog. With all the time and effort I have put into such things with only minimal improvement, I have to wonder from time to time: Am I just wasting my time? Is there anything at all that I can claim some sense of ability? Probably not. And at this point in my life I’m kind of wondering why bother? 

But I continue. At this point I can’t imagine going long without exercise. I’d feel like I was cheating. Furthermore, to see a guitar and not at least pick it up and strum it for a bit is just cruel. Guitars get lonely ya know? George Harrison even had a guitar that wept. They have feelings. And I don’t always choose to write a goofy song. The urge just happens at the weirdest times. Last Monday my granddaughter and I was playing on the playground and for some reason I said out loud, “Oh No!” And she repeated it just as clear as could be. She’s only 1, and I taught her something. So when I was taking the girls to school that got brought up, and the thought crossed my mine, that would make a neat song. OH NO! But it would have to be some sort of punk rock song. I normally don’t do those. It’s truly amazing how many songs have come about from that van ride to the school. “Oh No” reached a new pinnacle. My wife hates it worse than any other song I’ve done. 

See, now I feel better. No drugs, no therapy, no doctor’s bill. I just wanted to share. I’m not any better at exercising, playing the guitar, or blogging, but somehow I feel better. Weird huh? 

At the race today, I heard a song that I really really liked. When I have a song like that, I usually start researching the song and the artist. Her name is Rachel Platten and the song: “Fight Song” is about the only song she has that charted. That certainly doesn’t mean that she isn’t any good. There are incredible musicians and song writers out there, but we’ll never hear from them. The music business is really tough, and it isn’t always the most talented that get the most notice. 

The song seems to be about the discouragement that comes from song writing and performing. But it applies to every aspect of life. We get discouraged. OWN IT! It happens to the best, the worst and everyone in between. There is no need to be ashamed or pretent like we have overcome it and it doesn’t happen to us anymore. Nor is there any need look down on those going through it. Just take it and go on. I think this is a song about keeping going.

 Here are the Lyrics. The video can be seen by clicking on the title, Fight Song, above and it is worth watching. 


Fight Song by Rachel Platten

Like a small boat on the ocean

Sending big waves into motion

Like how a single word can make a heart open

I might only have one match but I can make an explosion
And all those things I didn’t say wrecking balls inside my brain

I will scream them loud tonight can you hear my voice this time?
This is my fight song

Take back my life song

Prove I’m alright song

My power’s turned on

Starting right now I’ll be strong

I’ll play my fight song

And I don’t really care if nobody else believes

‘Cause I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me
Losing friends and I’m chasing sleep 

Everybody’s worried about me

In too deep 

Say I’m in too deep (in too deep)

And it’s been two years I miss my home

But there’s a fire burning in my bones

Still believe

Yeah, I still believe

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