The Songs Stuck in My Head

For the past week or so, there have been two songs in my head which refuse to leave. More specifically, there have been two lines, one from each song, which keep playing on a loop in my brain and I can’t seem to shake them. The fact that I had not heard either song in at least 25 years (possibly longer) made me that much more curious to understand: why these lines? why now?

Both songs are by Christian recording artists I listened to in my youth. The first by Keith Green (written by his wife Melody), Make My Life a Prayer to You.  The line that keeps playing over and over is, “…oh its so hard to see, when my eyes are on me.” The second is an even bigger memory stretch, by an artist named Honeytree, from a song called, I Am Your Servant: “…when you are lonely, you’re the only one to blame.”

Sometimes when song lyrics float to the surface of my thoughts and refuse to leave, it is because they are catchy and I happen to love the song at that moment. Sometimes, the song is connected to a specific memory that I’ve been playing over in my head. But sometimes, like in this instance, I believe the lyrics are a message I am meant to decipher then use in some manner. Deciphering whether the source of that message is my own heart or subconscious, or whether it is the result of Divine intervention, doesn’t seem to matter as much as parsing the message.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to look at these two lines, put them together and come up with the idea that I need to focus attention outward, toward others. And it certainly makes sense, as much navel-gazing as I’ve been doing recently. It also feels like a call to trust both what my heart and my friends have been telling me: that I have something to offer to others that can make a difference in their lives and I need to stop holding back out of fear or misguided feelings of unworthiness.

On another level, though, I can’t help but notice that both songs are calls to live a Christian life: one of faith, prayer, and service. I have always striven to live by Christian ideals, though I have not always been what could objectively be considered a practicing Christian. Is this a call to deepen my faith life?

Here’s what I believe today, thanks to a wonderful and illuminating conversation with my friend, Wendy, yesterday. If life is a series of dots, as Steve Job says, which we have to trust will connect in a coherent manner even though we cannot see the connections as we move forward, I am in the process of stepping onto the next dot – I don’t know exactly where I’m going, but I’m ready to trust that I am being led where I need to go. In my daily, active life, as well as in the life of my spirit.

It didn’t take me long to find video of Keith Green on YouTube. Eventually, I found the Honeytree song, but I had to pay $.99 to download it in order to hear the entire song. I had forgotten some (though clearly not all) of the lyrics. The final stanza includes the lines, below, which seem like a perfect way to end this reflection:

I am a servant, getting ready for my part.

There’s been a change, a rearrangement of my heart.

At last I’m learning, there’s no returning once I start,

to live’s a privilege, to love is such an art…

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A Poem by May Sarton

Now I Become Myself

Now I become myself. It’s taken
Time, many years and places;
I have been dissolved and shaken,
Worn other people’s faces,
Run madly, as if Time were there,
Terribly old, crying a warning,
“Hurry, you will be dead before–”
(What? Before you reach the morning?
Or the end of the poem is clear?
Or love safe in the walled city?)
Now to stand still, to be here,
Feel my own weight and density!
The black shadow on the paper
Is my hand; the shadow of a word
As thought shapes the shaper
Falls heavy on the page, is heard.
All fuses now, falls into place
From wish to action, word to silence,
My work, my love, my time, my face
Gathered into one intense
Gesture of growing like a plant.
As slowly as the ripening fruit
Fertile, detached, and always spent,
Falls but does not exhaust the root,
So all the poem is, can give,
Grows in me to become the song,
Made so and rooted by love.
Now there is time and Time is young.
O, in this single hour I live
All of myself and do not move.
I, the pursued, who madly ran,
Stand still, stand still, and stop the sun!

May Sarton