November 18, 2017
WILD WORLD

I wonder what a musician experiences the moment he or she begins to write a song. Perhaps nostalgia, sorrow, or loneliness permeates his or her heart as reason and logic fail. Perhaps he or she is overcome with love—an eros or agape kind of love. I wonder where it first begins. Is it different each time? Words blow in the wind, and one by one, a single person captures them and begins to filter them through a personal, existential moment in time. Then, he or she carefully strings them together, presents them a melody, and gives a name to what has become a musical story, a song.

Luckily for me, many musicians release that song back into the wind. It travels and travels, reaching ears that may never listen, ears that may listen but never feel its worth, and ears that need to hear the song so desperately that when it reaches them, a sense kinship, relief, and connectedness wash over their keeper.

I experienced this myself recently. I was on an airplane flying home to Ohio to run my first marathon alongside my mother. I had spent the past six months running to train and to process—at least trying my hardest to do the latter. The world around me felt complicated to say the least, and with each passing day, I felt less and less equipped to face the convoluted web of heartache, fortune, simplicity, mess, luck, misplacement, and distortion I (mostly) read about on NPR and Twitter. So, I ran. I listened to music, and I processed each living frame of heartache, fortune, simplicity, mess, luck, misplacement, and distortion I could before choosing the most productive way to get involved.

Fast forward to that moment on my short flight to Ohio. Drew Holcomb’s Wild World played through my headphones, and his words struck me like a wall of cool water. My own words oftentimes fail me, and his became the truest expression of my mind and heart over the past several months.

I don’t know about you
But I like to tell the truth
But the truth seems to change every Tuesday

When I watch the news
Man, it just gives me the blues
No one listens, just on a mission to hear their own voice

It’s a wild world
We’re all trying to find our place in it
It’s a wild world
And no one seems to understand it
It’s a wild world
But there ain’t no way I’m gonna quit it
Love is all we’ve got to give away

Some folks ain’t got a dollar to their name
Others got their own jet planes
We’ve all got the same blood running through our veins

Whether or not you pray
Black or white, straight or gay
You still deserve the love of your neighbor

It’s a wild world
We’re all trying to find our place in it
It’s a wild world
And no one seems to understand it
It’s a wild world
But there ain’t no way I’m gonna quit it
Love is all we’ve got to give away

Try a little tenderness
Maybe some benefit of the doubt
Another person’s point of view
Try to listen not to shout
Hold your opinions loosely
Maybe you’re not always right
Show a little mercy
And hold on to love real tight

It’s a wild world
We’re all trying to find our place in it
It’s a wild world
And no one seems to understand it
It’s a wild world
But there ain’t no way I’m gonna quit it
Love is all we’ve got to give away
Love is all I’ve got to give away
Love is all we’ve got to give away

Amen.

There is no replacement for music. Thank you, humankind, for sharing it. Thank you for language, resilience, and forgiveness. Thank you for perspective. It seems, to me, that nobody got it easy, and music will continue to carry us through.

P.S. Listen to Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors here.

Painting by Inès Longevial

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