Last night my friend and I went to an Indigo Girls concert – I really have no idea how many times I’ve seen them in concert. I’d estimate around… a lot. I remember the first time I heard them singing. I was at the movies with a group of girlfriends in high school – freshman year, I think. There was music playing in the theater and on came the Indigo Girls. I immediately stopped talking to listen to the amazing music. I asked if anyone knew who it was – Kristen did. She later helped me copy her tapes so that I could have my own to listen to at home (piracy!). Ever since then I’ve been a huge fan.
I loved singing along with them – mostly with Emily, the soprano, but I also loved joining with Amy’s voice to create the beautiful harmonies. I often joked that it was my dream to be an “Indigo Girl” – I was only half joking. Later when I learned to play the guitar, I did my best to muddle through their songs. Between the constant key changes and the complex chords, I often find myself simplifying their music as best I can. They are very talented musicians and lyricists!
Last night they had an exceptional violinist with them. She was riffing then all of the sudden I knew where the song was going: The Wood Song! I immediately jumped out of my chair, as did most of the audience. The chords, the harmonies…the words. This song draws me in every time.
My friend and I are both at difficult times in our lives. We’re facing different circumstances but sometimes feel similar feelings. Right now hers are a little more raw, but with the right question or situation, it doesn’t take much for me to start crying. There’s hardly a moment in my life where The Wood Song wouldn’t comfort me, or offer me insights to what I’m facing. Last night was no different. It was the first time I’d heard this song live at a time when I was dealing with infertility and a job change, so of course, I heard this song in a way I never had before.
But the wood is tired and the wood is old
And we’ll make it fine if the weather holds
But if the weather holds we’ll have missed the point
That’s where I need to go
“But if the weather holds we’ll have missed the point.” At the end of this verse chorus, as I was singing loudly (as I always do at concerts, so if you don’t like that, don’t sit near me) the words were hitting me in a raw spot. The weather hasn’t held. The weather has gone terribly wrong. The wood can’t hold up to all the weather coming at it right now. But, if the wood were stronger, if it held up better, then I would have missed the point of the whole thing.
I don’t like that. But, it’s true. It’s when life feels most painful, most raw, most unfair, that the deepest lessons are learned and the deepest strength is found. Why? Why does it have to be that way?
I don’t often cry at concerts, but I did last night. If I had let myself be truly in the moment, I would have sobbed. It was that close to the surface. But, I didn’t want to sob, so I held back. It’s still there and when I’m ready for it, it’ll be released.
Yeah but what it takes to cross the great divide
Seems more than all the courage I can muster up inside
Although we get to have some answers when we reach the other side
The prize is always worth the rocky ride
The last 6 months have required more courage from me than I ever knew I had. Courage to be authentic about who I am and what I want in my life. Courage to take risks. Courage to admit when a season has come to an end. Courage to speak my truth. Although there are days when I feel weak and incapable, more often than not, I feel courageous. I feel strong and brave and very capable, thankyouverymuch. The rocky ride has brought out the courage in me – is that the prize?
Sometimes I ask to sneak a closer look
Skip to the final chapter of the book
And then maybe steer us clear from some of the pain it took
To get us where we are this far yeah
But the question drowns in its futility
And even I have got to laugh at me
No gets to miss the storm of what will be
Just holding on for the ride
So.much.goodness. I can’t handle their lyrics sometimes. It’s a bit overwhelming, honestly. Emily (first name basis, I mean, we did meet several years ago…) has a way of capturing the human experience so precisely. It may take a few listens – or a lot – but eventually the meaning is revealed. I’ve never been one to skip ahead in a novel. I don’t want to ruin the arc of the story. After living the last 6 months, I’m beginning to get curious about where I’ll be 6 months from now. For the first time, I really want to skip ahead and check out the rest of the story. However, “no one gets to miss the storm of what will be / just holding on for the ride…”
I’m holding on, there’s no doubt about that. However, I think my grip is a little looser. I don’t think this part of the storm will cause me to get a hand cramp because I’m holding on too tight. I just got through a bad storm. I got through mostly with my hands wide open – letting go to what will be.
If you’ve never heard this song, I suggest you take a listen. I hope you won’t be disappointed.