How do you write about reflux? How do you write about missing home? How do you write about feeling like a failure in the music industry? I don’t know either. And the questions keep getting bigger. These health issues, homesickness, and career failures, I’ve been learning how to deal with them. But as life gets more complicated, my vision clouds, and I have less to say about fixing my (or your) problems, especially in a song.
How do you write about a loved one who struggles with substance abuse, an uncle who has cancer, a grandpa who has dementia? Increasingly and lately, I don’t know how to say I’m hurting other than to just say it. Sure, I hope you relate in some way. I’ve shared every song I’ve ever written with at least someone, for no other reason than to experience a moment together. But as I’ve written this new batch of songs, I needed to write them for me first. There is no real message here, other than how my unique experiences lately have caused me to hurt.
Henri Nouwen says you cannot know yourself until you’ve sat in solitude with the difficult questions of your heart*. What am I yearning for? Why do I hurt? How do I make sense of what has transpired? Only after you know who you are can you move forward, and begin to be a good gift to others. Knowing yourself also paves a way for prayer. I’m not saying you have to articulate everything perfectly for God to hear you. Quite the opposite, actually. I’m saying when you’ve sat in solitude with yourself, it’s easier to turn upwards and pray with simplicity, like a child, honest and true.
Of The Ohio is part of my process of getting to the core. By the end I don’t have the answers to my problems, but I think I’m a little closer to something. Listen here:
Apple Music: https://tinyurl.com/oftheohioapple
*This concept comes from Henri Nouwen’s book, Reaching Out: The Three Movements of Spiritual Life