Using creativity as a lamplight in the darkness. That is what most artists use as their way to either process for themselves or to help illuminate a need, feeling, sorrow, or joy, etc.
Often, the latter is brought about by the collective soul of the community needing that light as a help to guide them out of some kind of darkness, or at least bring comfort and sometimes hope. It doesn’t have to be a literal darkness. It can be anything that causes anxiety or uncertainty or even pain. It can be a way to enter into the hearts of others and offer peace and a sense of the hopeful. I don’t think there is a more important thing to give another being.
As a songwriter and recording artist, it has always been such an important part of how I write and tell stories. It is also my compass as to when I choose to sit still, be open and listen deeply to not only my own heart, but also to that collective soul of the community of which I am a part.
This was the case when Hurricane Harvey hit the Texas coast a few years ago. I had many dear friends and people I had known in the music business for years in the direct path of harm’s way. Some of my friends were lucky to escape any damage at all, and others lost everything. I felt helpless 300 miles away.
The climate in this country was difficult after the last presidential election, and so much anger and divisiveness had been flooding the airwaves in a constant stream. As I watched the flooding of a different kind unfold on my TV, I saw miracles happening.
I saw people in boats reaching their hands out to other human beings in need, saving their lives and not caring in that moment who they voted for, who they worship, if at all, who they love, or the color of their skin. I thought to myself that THIS was who we really are.
THIS is why we are here. And for that moment in time, waves of loving kindness, during unbearable tragedy, were flooding the hearts and minds of all of us.
As a writer and believer in following where the heart and stillness lead me, I decided that the only real way I could do anything at all that had any significance, was to write about the hope that I was witnessing. A reminder that love is a choice we can make in every minute and it can be the guiding light for our actions.
I wrote one of the most important songs of my life that day called Walking Each Other Home. It can take on any meaning the listener wants it to, without attaching an event or an outcome to it. Its sole purpose is to gently remind us why we are here and who our hearts know us to be and that kindness can be lifesaving.
Hope is the ultimate healer in this story. The creating and the telling of a story can light the path for any and all of us. We may not know where the path will take us, but we can at least see our feet in front of us. And in that seeing, we can help each other on the road to a better and higher place.