Why Hope Sings?
Don’t hand me hope like it’s something up high,
stuck on a string, lost in the sky.
We have hope that’s there on the ground.
It says, pull up a chair, come on, sit down.
-- lyrics from “Take Another Step”
in the section Hearing Pain of the World
This is the kind of hope I write about. I want to offer song medicine to document everyday bravery and help cheer on people who are engaged in mending and strengthening the basic web of life.
Continually new songs came to me. Many songs arrive in dreams, some while driving. A friend likes to kid me when we’re in a meeting and I take out a pen with a certain look in my eye -- “You’re probably going to write a song on the spot, aren’t you?” While I was studying to be an Interfaith Chaplain, I wrote seventy songs. Once I stopped at a CVS near midnight and joked that I had a songwriting emergency -- I asked to use their phone to call home with the song that had taken shape as I drove. That’s the song called “Anchoring Prayer.”
These song gifts arrive as promptings. Some feel like a spotlight has drawn my eye to look. There is a feeling of a giant yellow magic marker coming in to highlight a situation, and I have to pay attention. Songwriting is a sacred journey to a wellspring.
It’s like being a town crier documenting breakthroughs in courage. I want to cheer on all that people are doing. Professor and activist Howard Zinn writes: “The struggle for justice should never be abandoned because of the apparent overwhelming power of those who have the guns and the money and who seem invincible in their determination to hold onto it. That apparent power has, again and again, proved vulnerable to moral fervor, determination, unity, organization, sacrifice, wit, ingenuity, courage, and patience.”
I am trying to create a string of beads, each bead a song. I am trying to bring the food of comfort, resilience, and news of our global village. I'll keep adding more songs.