I hear you have a soft spot
For fools and little children
And I’m glad
‘Cause I’ve been both of those
I shook my fist up toward the sky
And at most of those who love me
A frightened angry boy
In grown-up clothes
But a father’s eye
Can always see right through
And a father’s heart
Can tell when tears are true
Now I’m standing on this road
Your hand has brought me to
Your faithful love will lead me
Life sure has its choices
You left those choices to me
And I’m glad
But sometimes I feel caught
It’s hard to know which bridge to cross
And which bridge I should be burning
I long to learn
But I’m so slow at being taught
Farther On by Russ Taff – from the album “The Way Home” 1989
Words and music by Russ Taff, Tori Taff and James Hollihan
Have you ever had a song that speaks to you like it came from your soul? A song that you’ve always known, but suddenly the meaning becomes so real. So true. A song that I’ve played a thousand times in both churches and bars. A song that I’ve seen others weep from in both places, but it never moved me like it did today. Here is what this simple song has shown me.
It’s short. It’s sweet. It’s to the point. Not a lot of words, but he right words in the right order. My renewed search for a richer understanding of myself has led me to revisit my ideas of faith. This road I’m standing on. A deeper reflection of how and why. An acceptance and inner peace that I’ve always tried to show to everyone, but the truth is I’ve be hiding behind that mask. Then, as if right on cue, Russ Taff’s words from 30 years ago hold an image up to my mind’s eye.
With me what you see is not always what you get. Over my lifetime I’ve become a master of cloaking my inner demons. Slowly building a wall to block out the outside. Partially due the bipolar, to growing up in church, to being an addict, to being a musician, to being sober, to being a disciple, to being a heathen, to being righteous, to now just being old and tired. I’ve been so many people on the outside, but so few on the inside.
On the outside I’m Mr. Positivity. Always with a joke or encouraging word. Always trying to find the good no matter the situation. I attempt to leave people or things better than I found them.
Do you need a smile, a laugh, a hug, a shoulder to cry on, I’m there with an ear or advice or whatever you may need. Like a sponge, I absorb your pain. You’ll will walk away from me feeling better about yourself having no idea of the tempest inside my mind.
Inside, I’ve always been that fool. That frightened angry boy shaking my fist at the sky and to those that love me. Always questioning why. Now I’m in my grown-up clothes and I see the choices I’ve made. I’ve done life my way and I have liked that. But now it’s getting too heavy. Too much to carry on my own.
Today I surrender. Today I’m beginning to learn which bridges to burn. Which bridges to cross. Which bridges to avoid.
But a father’s eye can always see right through. And a father’s heart can tell when tears are true.
I can’t hide how I feel anymore. I will not put on that salesman smile. That mask that limits who I am. Who I want to be. I’ll keep on moving farther on with an honesty that may make others uncomfortable. I must stop being a caricature of myself. Now is my time to lean on others. To let their masks encourage me. Uplift me. Will someone take my pain? It’s time that I need a reverse golden rule…let other’s do unto me as I have done to them. I’ve put out some good karma but I know I’m also responsible for some bad, bad mojo that’ll leave an ugly mark.
But I can’t be anything but me. I’m not responsible for anyone else’s happiness, contentment, peace of mind. The world will keep rolling right along with or without me. I’m here trusting and knowing that that faithful love will keep me and everyone else going on just fine. I am wanted in the world not needed. I am loved. I love. I laugh. I cry. I hurt. I bleed. I heal. I dream. I am real.
Now I’m standing on this road his hand has brought me to.
His faithful love will lead me farther on.
“The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.”