Angie and I love to share music with each other. There is definitely a considerable amount of overlap in our tastes, but we do have some musical disagreements. For instance, she doesn’t understand the musical genius of Biz Markie’s “Just a Friend.” Nor is she thrilled when Biz blares as my morning alarm or the 14 additional opportunities she gets to hear it each time I hit the snooze button. However, there are a few artists that land squarely in the sweet spot for us. Most assuredly, Ms. Brandi Carlile is at/near the top of that list. We’ve seen her live three times, and she continues to mesmerize us with her talent. Frankly, I’ve never heard anything quite like her.
In October of 2009, she released her most recent album, “Give Up the Ghost.” I was stunned at its depth and beauty. One song in particular caught my mind: “That Year.” It’s a song about the year she dropped out of high school; the year that one of her best friends committed suicide. As she’s explained (and the song alludes to), she held a grudge against that friend for 10 years, until one night a dream about the friend shook her up enough that she decided to forgive. The song itself is emotionally rich — much more so when you get to hear the emotional vulnerability live in her voice. The broader theme of the song is the freedom she gains after she forgives. You’ll note that she still doesn’t understand why, but she forgave anyway. She still hurts, but she’s stopped using emotional fuel to keep the grudge in place — really, she’s stopped taking it personally.
I know I touched on forgiveness in yesterday’s post, too; it’s clearly something that’s on my heart right now. I think what tends to happen is that we hold on to something because we think it protects us, gives us power, gives us meaning, gives us justice — but underneath it all, we’re just afraid to be vulnerable. But what ends up happening is that the thing we hold ends up being more destructive to ourselves than anyone else.
The last year has taught me a lot about forgiveness. And I’ve learned the joy that comes with forgiving someone (although I’ll admit, I didn’t voluntarily sign up for those lessons) and the growth that comes with being forgiven. My challenge to myself, and to you, is to recognize someone in your life that you’ve not forgiven for something and just forgive them. Let it go. No ceremony needed — just drop it. Don’t let that grudge enslave you — embrace your freedom. It’s very possible that the person won’t appreciate it or recognize it, but remember that you’re not doing it for them. You’re doing it for you.
You can check out “That Year” below: