I have yet to meet someone who doesn’t love music. We may not all appreciate the same music—just ask my brothers. But, we can all agree that music speaks to just about everyone—at every age and at every stage. Every once in a while a song speaks the truth so effectively it seems we’d never understand the sentiment had it been delivered in any other way. Astonishing really, that words can become something so very different and amazingly powerful in a whole new way when set to the right melody—to say nothing of the power of music to communicate emotions even without lyrics.
I have a serious musical crush on Michael Rosenberg (better known as the man behind Passenger). I only discovered his music a couple of years ago, but I’ve been quite infatuated since the first time I heard his lightly raspy voice give life to fluid lyrics, and his delicious British accent set in time with his guitar. For me, his lyrics (and his way of conveyance) are moving in every way.
I’ve been spending quite a lot of time in the car recently, traveling to and from various events and meetings. This time of year, driving through Wyoming is something special. The way the slightly lower angled light hits the landscape makes everything look like it might not be real—rather an artist’s rendition of something too beautiful to remember accurately framed only in memory.
Sometimes, I might drive for close to an hour without seeing another vehicle. You can’t help but wonder, among so few, just how many people are fortunate enough to see such country? Cresting a patch of high ground, I can often see mountains even a hundred miles in the far off distance with nothing between us but endless rolling hills, golden-tipped natural grasses, and the occasional blossoming cluster of resilient trees. The space in such places creates a margin for thinking.
Then, a song—that song, comes on and the lyrics leak through the cracks in my heart and suddenly I hear something so far beyond just a song.
That exact thing happened to me. I’d heard Riding to New York before, but I’d never heard it quite the way I did this time. I’d recently read a blog post about taking time in the month of November to teach our children about the importance of gratitude leading up to the celebration of Thanksgiving. I agree with the general sentiment. We need to spend time in gratitude and teach our children to do the same. But when I listened to this song, at that particular moment, in that specific place and time, another thought came into focus.
Gratitude in the spirit of reflection—with perspective, for what has passed, is not the same as gratitude for what currently exists…for the here and now.
If we’re lucky enough to live long enough to have the opportunity to look back and see the beautiful mess that is all our many blessings tumbled and intertwined with all our many mistakes, it’s not necessarily difficult to do so with a heart of gratitude (even if it is through a veil of repentance)—and we should. But, perhaps…what is more important is to wear that heart of gratitude now—before we have the added perspective or wisdom allotted by time and circumstance. Maybe what we need to do—what the Man in Minnesota would tell us, is to love more now and have gratitude in good faith of what is to come. Waist not the time needed for gaining perspective—love now.
I thank the Man in Minnesota and Mike Rosenberg for making me think a little more—a little deeper. I don’t want to have to make that desperate ride to New York. I want those people…my people…to know now just how much I love them in the here and now.
So…I’m declaring this month #Lovember. Why wait until February for declarations of love? February can keep its overpriced, sexified, relationship-shaming holiday. It makes far more sense to profess love right along side with professions of gratitude.
In the spirit of Lovember, each day this month I commit to writing at least one letter/note/message—however short and sweet. I’ll send one each day, each day to someone new. Each message will be both an offer of thanksgiving, a profession of love, and my gratitude in good faith for what our relationship will bring to my life in the future. I’ll wager the risk of putting too much faith in hope and belief that the future holds much to be grateful for. I’ll say thank you…and I’m sorry…and I love you…and I’lll say it now.
I invite you all to do the same. You don’t have to do it all month. (I won’t tell). Even one letter on one day may make all the difference. Let’s spread some gratitude and some love. Maybe I’ll even get creative and write a song…well…maybe not. I’ll leave the songs to Mr. Rosenberg, but I may borrow one of his from time to time.