Ten years ago, my wife and I made our Forever Vow, and to celebrate I enlisted the help of a team of poets. These men and women have the remarkable talent of telling stories in song, and their musical gifts provided the soundtrack of our first decade. Here are some song excerpts and the reason they were selected. I’m indebted to this group for saying so well the things I was thinking.
I called the compilation “Mountains” as a representation of the figurative and literal mountains that form the landscape of our lives so far. We lived in the Smokies for seven of those years, and a trip to the Rockies forged a powerful memory. But it’s the metaphorical mountains that presented the challenges. Andrew Peterson used a different metaphor, but he expressed our hearts exactly in “Dancing in the Minefields;” here’s the chorus:
We went dancing in the minefields
We went sailing in the storm
And it was harder than we dreamed
But I believe that’s what the promise is for
Song two was provided by one of the greats, and represents our shared homesickness for the glorious hills of North Carolina. We cherished our time there, built many great friendships, and are always eager to return. Mr. Taylor knows the feeling:
In my mind I’m gone to Carolina.
Can’t you see the sunshine.
Can’t you just feel the moon shining
Ain’t it just like a friend of mine to hit me from behind.
Yes, I’m gone to Carolina in my mind.
Caedmon’s Call, one of my absolute favorites, gave us the second song of our second year together. It’s to signify the birth of our first son, Caedmon, and the next week we spent in a neonatal ICU wondering if he was going to survive. Caedmon has Cerebral Palsy, and that truth stirs questions in the deepest part of us. I’ll let the poets speak for me.
late at night I wonder why
sometimes I wonder why
sometimes I’m so tired
I don’t even try
seems everything around me fails
but I hold on to the promise
that there is a reason
he makes all things good
he makes all things good
there’s a time to live and a time to die
a time for wonder and to wonder why
cause there is a reason
there is a reason
John Denver lends his voice for this next one. My sister was in a car accident that landed her in Craig Rehabilitation Hospital with a broken back and the threat of never walking again. Our family converged on Denver to support her and each other. Gina and Caedmon eventually got to share a physical therapy session and share an experience that the rest of our family can never fully understand. I love the second line of this verse, and think of Gina and Caedmon working for every physical step, and the rest of our family figuratively walking on.
Now he walks in quiet solitude the forests and the streams
Seeking grace in every step he takes
His sight has turned inside himself to try and understand
The serenity of a clear blue mountain lake – Rocky Mountain High
Caedmon’s Call contributed again, with a sweet song about Cliff and Danielle Young, the lead singers of the band, having their first son. Andrew is our third, but the truth of this song resonates with us.
Our vows they started breathing
and they took on flesh and blood
and we held them in our arms
and tasted God was good
I fell in love with you
and that love became something new
it added a name and it added a smile
it keeps getting bigger every further mile
There on your bended knee
we sewed the seeds of our history
they’re coming up stronger
than we ever could have longed
love keeps growing more love (Love Grows Love, I don’t know the people in the video.)
The next song represents a tough season in our lives, and Laura Story penned a beautiful song that spoke truth into our struggle. It’s called Blessings. (you can hear her tell why she wrote the song.)
When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know that pain reminds this heart
That this is not, this is not our home
It’s not our home
‘Cause what if Your blessings
come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
And what if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst
this world can’t satisfy
And what if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
are Your mercies in disguise
There were a few more songs, but I chose these for their particularly poetic strength. I’m grateful to these artists, and their willingness to share their hearts in song. God bless the poets.
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