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Wide River to Cross…

2 Comments 08 July 2010

I am a lover of music, not in the sense of, oh damn, “I love this song! Cool!”  But in the sense that I believe that music is profound and that the lyrics of truly gifted songwriters are the poetry of the soul.  I will go to my grave struggling with being envious of those who can write songs, play music, and yes…sing.  There is a movement in the depths of the soul when the lyric, the music and the voice meld together and become one…it is magical and medicinal!

When you hear a song that grips you like that, that speaks to you in your guts, you want to consider why and for me…you want to write about it.  Back around December of last year, that song was Buddy Miller’s, Wide River To Cross, with its prolific lyrics and haunting tune.  Today, I am drawn back to that song as I consider yet another thoughtful comment by my friend Judy.  After I wrote the other day about College for 40-year-olds, Judy asked what had become of the underdog that I had talked about in my previous post “I’ve Always Loved the Underdog” from fifth grade to 33?  It was a fantastic question and one that is not easily answered in a blog post.  Really, to clarify, it would have been what happend between ages 18 and 33.  How did the underdog that was born in fifth grade who grew to have a fire in her belly for injustice through eighteen begin to lose her way and her voice in her twenties and early thirties?  The very existence of this blog is here to articulate the answer to that question, because what happened in those young adult years have shaped me forever.

Often times a song can communicate more than simple words, so until I can articulate an appropriate and thought through answer to Judy’s question…Buddy’s song will have to suffice.  The simplicity, the richness and the honesty of this song are what bring me back to it over and over again.  I feel very much like I have a wide, wide river to cross.  So much lies ahead of me and I am hopeful, yet I know there lies behind me great sorrow and failure and brokenness.  I don’t move forward thinking that I will be exempt from more sorrow, to the contrary, I know it travels right beside me, but I also know I am going home and that all that is broken here will be whole there.  It makes my journey here not only bearable, but beautiful.  I love this song.  I really do.  I love that even though we walk through seasons of  life in which we lose our voices and even betray our own souls, we can come through those seasons able to speak more clearly and know ourselves more definitively than we could have had we never failed.

I’ve got a wide, wide river to cross…so glad I’m only half way home!

there’s a sorrow in the wind
blowing’ down the road i’ve been
i can hear it cry while shadows steal the sun

but i can not look back now
i’ve come to far to turn around
and there’s still a race ahead that i must run

i’m only halfway home i gotta journey on
to where i’ll find the things that i have lost
i’ve come a long long road still i’ve got miles to go
i’ve got a wide wide river to cross

i have stumbled i have strayed
you can trace the tracks i made
all across the memories my heart recalls
but i’m just a refugee won’t you say a prayer for me
cause sometimes even the strongest soldier falls

Click here to hear Wide River to Cross by Buddy Miller & Emmylou Harris

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2 Comments so far

  1. Judy Helfand says:

    Jorja,
    I didn’t really anticipate that you would write a post about my comment/question, but it is amazing how this conversation winds like a river. Last month you talked about peaks and I talked about valleys…and reminded you that mountains may inspire us, but the valleys are created by rivers and streams…they give us life.
    Now I am thinking, that many of the best songs that tell a good story are about a river (including this one you shared today).
    The miracle of a river is that its course can change…as do our lives.
    I live just a short walk to the Rillito River. 80% of the time the river is dry, but the monsoon season arrives, as it will this week, the river will come alive after each storm and feed the desert landscape.
    You are a treasure…like a huckleberry friend.

    • Jorja says:

      judy, you probably won’t ever know how very much your comments mean to me, but your wisdom and your life experience bring so much to what you say. i am beyond grateful for any and every comment…always!


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things to make you wonder~

“I am a frayed and nibbled survivor in a fallen world, and I am getting along. I am aging and eaten and have done my share of eating too. I am not washed and beautiful, in control of a shining world in which everything fits, but instead am wondering awed about on a splintered wreck I've come to care for, whose gnawed trees breathe a delicate air, whose bloodied and scarred creatures are my dearest companions, and whose beauty bats and shines not in its imperfections but overwhelmingly in spite of them...” Annie Dillard

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