(To hear the song, click on the title, in green just above. You’ll be taken to a page with a music icon. Click there. Enjoy.)
One of the hazards of working alone is that there is no one to remind me that songs should not be too long. There is an unwritten (maybe written) rule that, to be commercially viable, a song cannot be longer than three minutes. i am obviously not constrained by that restriction but perhaps i should be. Attention spans and listening time do have their limits after all. So, to make this long lullaby work for you, may i make a suggestion? If you’re a parent, think of a child; If you’re not, think of someone really dear to you. Now, the song is the soundtrack for the slideshow that you’re going to run through your mind’s eye as you listen to this new piece. Think high school graduation or a wedding, where photos of the one loved are recalling their life and your time with them. This song is for that person, that occasion. (And, as a pure lullaby, it should be pretty effective too. Five minutes of soft guitar could put anyone to sleep.) …
Now, about the song itself …
Some of my favorite and most gratifying letters over the years have been those from parents who’ve used the “Open Windows” CD to put their children to sleep. I have a deep fondness for songs of the lullaby-ish kind, songs that are unapologetically pretty, sentimental, soft-spoken. And I hope that someday I’ll find time to record another batch of them. I write lots of them but they rarely make it out of the studio.
On occasion when I write a new song, I try to imagine that I am actually singing it to a particular individual, child or adult. That practice keeps what I do from being too theoretical or impersonal and also makes writing time, which is usually pretty isolating, not feel quite so alone. Young Cam Railey, my first grand-nephew, was in mind when I started “One of You” awhile back. (That’s him in the picture.)
Maybe lullabies are our earliest attempts to teach our children about their uniqueness and their worth to us. If I had a child, I like to think I’d sing this one to him or her long past nursery school days, into the years when they were old enough to go to college or get married or have kids of their own, to remind them of this truth that follows us all from cradle to grave.
Simple song, this one. It reminds me of one of my favorite stories, You Are Special, by Max Lucado, the first one that I read each year to the grade school classes that I adopt for Thursday visits. It is easy to forget sometimes, of ourselves and of those with whom we rub shoulders each day, that each is one of a kind, a treasure, an image-bearer of God, a singular creation “fearfully and wonderfully made.”
It’s a thought full of profundity and beauty, “He only made one of you.”
Tomorrow’s song, “Never Empty Table,” a song for communion.