You Got Hope, I Got My Doubts

a decade goes by without a warning, and there’s still a kindness in your eyes.”

I’m sitting in the commons of the library, being that girl who takes up a booth all for herself. Usually, I try not to be this person, but today I need my booth, and my free Starbucks tea, and to avoid my mountain of insurmountable problems (that are really more like a molehill of problems) and listen to this song on repeat.

I found this last night when I was supposed to be doing the homework that I am supposed to be doing right now. I love all music; even the music I hate. Does that make sense? It’s all beautiful to me because it comes from somebody’s heart. It’s someone else’s story. A year ago, I was in this place where they had a day of “music therapy.” This girl walks in with a cheap guitar and a handful of sheet music. The room is filled with crazy people.

A homeless man who hasn’t spoken to his only daughter in over 20 years because he’s been in and out of this place and on the streets since he was 15.

A 25 year old ex-college football player who had his dreams dashed with a bum knee and coped with painkillers.

An elderly woman who is stuck in a wheelchair for the rest of her life because she got hit by a bus 30 years ago, and lost both of her legs. She’s been here 3 times.

A young man who has gone completely psychotic because he let a book and his eccentrically religious family drive him into a fear-filled, mental guilt trip.

A young mother of a newborn baby she had just 3 weeks ago, that she can’t even take care of because she’s addicted to heroine. Not to mention her baby is too.

and 19 year old, scared shitless, me.

I remember all of them, even though sometimes I wish I didn’t.

The girl who walks in with music is young and naive. These people are in and out of rehab, they don’t give a shit that she’s here, but to comply with the rules they stay silent. She hands out the sheets of music as we sit in a circle. The songs are to accommodate the age-group. Classic Rock from the 60’s and 70’s. This place is hell. She starts fumbling with her guitar, picking and strumming as well as her mediocre talent will let her. The old homeless man starts clapping. The college-drop out smiles and starts to quietly sing along. The woman in the wheelchair starts cackling: “this is my jam!”  Within minutes, we are all crappily-singing along to “Take it Easy” by the Eagles. Hell turns to Heaven in seconds.

Music heals us. It gives us a way to relate to each other without knowing someone’s past, without knowing that they’re crazy or sane, or perfect, or that really no one is perfect no matter how hard they try to be, or how good they are at making it look like they are. We have songs for the bad days, the summer days, the rainy days, even pump-up jams like Barney’s “You Give Love a Bad Name” from HIMYM. My favorite music though, is the simple kind. The kind that can be easily played, easily sung. The kind that reminds you of when you’re the happiest. Reminds you of love, and friends, and is soft on your heart. Songs that bring you peace.

Drew Holcomb does this pretty well. Today I needed this song.

And to remember that all of these things are real, and that I am proud of who I am.


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