A friend of mine found herself in a quandary today and I was flattered and surprised when she asked for my advice. (I am a guy after all.) She just moved and right now everything in her life, except her faith, has question mark beside it. Her email to me this morning mentioned it was raining where she was---Obviously, "Rainin'on Sunday" popped into my head and I must have listened to five times today. A little while ago I wrote her back, throwing her some hard and rhetorical curve balls. I ended the message by telling her to listen to a Keith Urban CD. I decided to take my own advice and popped in "Be Here," knowing full well what song came first, as the acoustic guitar began its honeyed refrain. Next, the drumbeat crushed time as I heard the descending mandolin riff while the electric guitar growled at me. I was listening to "Days Go By" ---for like the 432nd time. In this age of ephemeral pop and country music, it's hard to find songs to lean on. However, "Days Go By" is one that provides calm and balance when I am looking for something---sometimes anything, to hold onto in this slippery world.
"Days Go By" is one in a handful of songs I've come across in my life that I wish I could sing to everyone. Given the money, I'd construct billboards displaying the words neatly along every road and highway, or would creatively spray-paint them, in every language, on subway cars. Yet the beauty of this song is how it's a poem that comes from a man who puts pants on the same way I do everyday.
Without flattering myself, I believe he and I are also alike because of how we thrive on whatever life offers. I'm sure he still does and I wonder if within his struggles, he ever takes his own advice. Time will tell how this song stacks up in "Top 100 count-downs of all time," but it's already stood the true test, which is being a song that's articulated what so many of us feel by have never been able to put into words. It's poetry.
Days go by.
I can feel 'em flying like a hand out the window in the wind as the cars go by.
It's all we've been givin' so you'd better start livin' right now, cause days go by.
In the three minutes and forty four seconds it takes for the song to play, it perfectly underscores the fragile and finite qualities of being warm blooded. "Days Go By" illuminates what a flicker our existence is, as at any time we have no way of knowing if we are experiencing something for the first time or the last. That being said, if today was the last day of your life, what would you do after you finished reading this blog? I'd love for you to tell me—and I hope it's not the last day of your life!
For my money, there are very few songs (Thunder Road, Backstreets--- hell, just go buy Springsteen's Born to Run if you don't already have it--- oh and maybe Darkness on the Edge of Town too) that can speak to you in plain, simple English explaining how sometimes it takes feeling really, really lost (that's 2 really's) in order to discover where you are. Springsteen is required listening if you need more proof to further realize how even during times of uncertainty, places still exist where we can get it right, again and again.
We all live in a world where the light at dawn pushes its way up through the heavy darkness and we wake to find our lives in a new day filled with opportunity. I wish I had something better, or more concrete to tell my friend, but I don't. But I hope she knows, as we all should know, that as these days go by, every decision counts. Every minute matters. Everyone we love--- matters. And when in doubt, maybe the best thing for us to do is to look beneath our own sternum for answers. Opportunities are often disguised as obstacles, yet sometimes the answers are obvious. Other times they become evident only after we've looked at them from every possible angle, again and again. But it's my humble belief answers can only be found in the silence that exists between our heartbeats.
And every day we are given the opportunity to make things right again.