Everyday Bravery

Keep the flame alive

Source: Music by Sarah Pirtle. 
Words by Sarah Pirtle with Bonnie Lockhart and Jan Thomas, 2006.

Lyrics

1. With every hard choice that we make, we keep the flame alive.
With ancient embers that we rake, we keep the flame alive.
With unbridled creativity and unrivaled authenticity,
with unsung generosity we keep the flame alive.

 

Chorus:
Keep the flame alive and let it show.
Light your candle and hold it high and the light will grow.

 

2. With words of truth that we have said, we keep the flame alive.
With hands that turn the grain to bread, we keep the flame alive.
With unbridled celebrations and unrivaled revelations,
With unsung generations we keep the flame alive. 

 

Chorus

 

3. With the stormy waters we have crossed, we keep the flame alive.
Every time we try and think we’ve lost, we keep the flame alive.
With freely given gratitude and miles and miles of latitude,
With feisty stand-up attitude we keep the flame.

 

Chorus

 

4. When we ride through fear and reach the spring, we keep the flame alive.
Every time we stop to shout and sing, we keep the flame alive.
With every mountain, every tree, with water pouring to the sea,
with every child, with you and me.
With daily acts of bravery, we keep the flame alive.

 

Chorus:
Keep the flame alive and let it show.
Light your candle and hold it high and the light will grow.

Production: Engineered by Joe Podlesney, www.joepodmusic.com. Piano by Ryan Pirtle-McVeigh. Vocals by Erin Berard, Meg Cook, Molly Lieberman, Isolina Leiva-Bowes, and Melanie Meier, past and present Journey Camp staff members.

About This Song

“Pete Seeger showed how a group that’s singing a song together awakens a part of you that can stay asleep.” -- Arlo Guthrie in a radio interview on WAMC.

Story of the Song: Lynn Phillips told me about her six-year-old daughter Lauren’s passionate commitment to protecting the earth. She commented, “Sometimes we feel like there aren’t many families like ours.” I wanted to create a song that would say--Everything you’re doing really does matter.

Lyric collaboration: I began the first draft of the song while driving to the airport and brought the incomplete song to friends in California. New lyrics were cooked with Bonnie Lockhart and Jan Thomas. Although the song began alone, it needed to be born through community. We found the values that the three of us shared created quick common ground, and this song flew out.

Workshop suggestions:  Each of us truly has the power of a brilliant heart light inside us, a flame that we can nurture and keep alive. When we keep the candle of our heart well lit, we are affecting each other and the world.

What helps you keep the flame of your heart strong?

Going forth: Think about all the people across time who have had the same common purpose--to support life and community. Visualize them with us in our everyday struggles cheering us on.
Also, picture the people of the future stretching out a golden thread to us. Hear them say--thank you for creating the world that someday we will be enjoying.

Candle-lighting: Give each person a lit candle at night then watch while one at a time the candles are blown out. Stand together in the completely dark place. Then say--notice how much it matters when one person’s light in the world shines. Light one candle and feel the difference. Experience its tremendous glow. Pass the flame and relight all the others. This effect of our light will be imprinted.

Co-author Bonnie Lockhart wrote, “Water Cycles,” in this collection in the Gratitude Section, and is well-known for writing “Who Were the Witches?”

Jan Thomas, who also co-authored this song, writes, “In some ways the line--With words of truth that we have said we keep the flame alive--is for me the emotional core of the piece. Telling the truth even when difficult or dangerous is the driver within so many ‘acts of everyday bravery.’" Jan’s website is soulandmeaning.com. She writes, “The interwoven threads of spirituality and social change have been essential to my life's journey.” Her website offers social justice quotes, songs that she recommends, and essays.