How Emptiness Sings

how to do this one day...

rowancreek Like you I berate myself with “I should” when it comes to whatever is not easy or highly pleasurable.

“Easy” are mindless chores done halfway before getting distracted and starting another mindless chore.

“Highly pleasurable” includes drinking coffee, reading, walking, napping on Sunday, laughing, watching an episode of The Good Wife or Brooklyn 99, or songwriting.

Hardest of all is sitting still in a chair to write actual sentences of any kind. It’s no small feat to make sense of all my constantly swirling thoughts, which is why I admire you long-form writers, authors & bloggers so much.

But I know, I know. It’s good to remember how to write whole thoughts in whole sentences and share them with real human creatures who care. So yes, occasionally I force myself to sit down and write on the blog, and I’m always glad I did and always feel like I experienced a kind of accidental therapy.

Well, one of my sisters did the unthinkable the other day. She broke what I thought was an unspoken agreement between us by quoting one of my song lyrics back to me (one of my Mom’s favorite pastimes, btw).

She reminded me of the third verse of “How Emptiness Sings” which begins:

I haven’t been asked yet to walk the hard road,

but still there’s a sense of deep loss in my soul…

Until she said it, I don’t think I’d really acknowledged it to myself because I’m really quite good at finding silver linings. But honestly, the road our family has been on over the past several years?  It's been hard.

Lots and lots of love and grace and other good things that bring joy. Yes.

And the road is hard.

None of us is physically ill or dying, which I remind myself of constantly and which keeps things in perspective.

But there have been some pretty major losses, predicaments, grief, uncertainty and exhaustion as our story in some ways suddenly failed to play out the way we imagined it would.

I like problem-solving, but these problems are literally beyond me, and I find it very easy to “lean not on your own understanding” because I HAVE none.

So what’s a fixer to do when the thing won’t be humanly/easily fixed?

When it’s almost comical how so many things are breaking or shifting around you?

When your ideas about your future have shrunk to the size of this one day?


Well. I guess you do this one day. One breath at a time...

And I'm finding these four things have become essential to my waking hours:

     Thanksgiving. Because neither you nor I have reached a point where there isn’t the smallest thing of beauty left in reach.

(deep breath in...long exhale...)

     Begging. Ask like a desperate man (because you are) for things to come right again. Ask God to make Himself undeniably known & make things right. Even if things come right in a whole new, unexpected way.

(deep breath in...long exhale...)

     Seeking. I read everything that speaks to the questions of my brain & heart and solicit wisdom from mentors & friends. Emotions are valid and great, but I need a constant inflow of truth to keep them from wreaking havoc.

(deep breath in...long exhale...)

     Planning. And I mean a very small & immediate plan. What can I do TODAY? Usually what I can do is show up & show love for my work & my people.

(deep breath in...long exhale)

One day.  

Just do this one difficult, HOPE-LIT, living day.

You might have to laugh or cry your way through it, or both at the same time (which feels strange and awesome). That's okay.

No one gets through life unscathed. No one needs to do it alone. No one is beyond hope.

We can do this one day. The mindless chores and the highly pleasurable and, occasionally, a few whole sentences.


"How Emptiness Sings" - Live at Northview, Indianapolis

Although my brain is a constant buzz of activity, I find it hard to, carve out time to journal.  Most weeks the best I can muster is the jotting of 3 or 4 sentences of prayer and a few song ideas on scraps of paper, alongside the "get milk & eggs" list.  Solitary time is scarce and reserved mainly for reading, prayer and songwriting.  Thus, you get a video this week instead of deep thoughts. And next week...I'll be at Masterpiece, so you might just get some cool & fun photos of our mayhem there. But I did have an extremely enjoyable weekend up in Indianapolis, not far from my alma mater Anderson University, visiting funny & talented college friends, my awesome 4-wheeling cousins and making music.  Here you'll see  a beautifully filmed "How Emptiness Sings" shared Sunday morning.  Thank you, Northview, for inviting me to talk & sing.  It was an honor to worship with you all.

How Emptiness Sings from Northview Church on Vimeo.

How Emptiness Sings

I made myself wait these past several months, and now we're ready to share the music we made last summer/fall before heading out to Costa Rica.  And now...I'm both eager and a little shy about actually shipping.  :) How Emptiness Sings is a 7-track EP, all new originals, recorded & produced by Zodlounge (Nashville, TN), cover art/photos/design by Shelly Eve (who, by the way, you might know as Shelly Moore - singer/songwriter).  I love it. :)

Making music is joy - made complete when others enter in, listen, and respond.  Once that interaction begins, the work seems out of the artist's hands, ownership transferred to the listener. that end, I invite you to interact with these new creatures of music & lyric.  We are adding one preview track every couple of days through the release, until all 7 are up - click the image below to listen.

Official release is March 15 (hopefully you'll be able to find it at iTunes, etc, right away) - and we are already taking orders for physical CDs here at the Store.

You have a million other places you could be right now! Thank for stopping here.  And...please respond freely...your stories bring the music to life.