I’ve restarted this blog three times. I can’t figure out how to tell you what I’m thinking. It’s not that I’m short on words- that will be the day. It’s that I can’t relate to you exactly how music and lyrics affect me.

It’s deep. It’s personal. I don’t prefer music where I can’t understand what the performer is saying- I think, “Why did you even waste time writing anything if you were going to scream it?”. And this is one of the reasons I like Ludacris- he may sing quasi-vulgar lyrics, but I can understand every one of them- and to be honest, some of them are genius. Sorry, Mama.

My friend James and I talk about it a lot- he’s a song writer, I’m a writer writer (huh?), and we compare notes on the difficult side as well as the blessed side of constantly having words swirling around in your head. It’s like constantly making a DQ blizzard in your brain that stays on that little spinner thing until you sit down and write.

There have been multiple times (some of them recorded on this very blog) when music has changed my day. My heart. Brought tears to my eyes. And one of the leading culprits is Bebo Norman. Here’s how you can tell the difference between a flash-in-the-pan artist and a true musician- the same CD that spoke directly to my heart in 1999 made me cry, and talk straight to God, on I-85 last Friday.

I was driving to Jackson County, thinking about all the decisions and changes that have gone on in my life in the last 6 months, seeing if maybe this day would be the day that God would reveal something about His best plan for me. Every day I wonder that- is today the day that God is going to make it clear? Will today be the day that I am called to be brave? Not yet.

One of Bebo’s old songs came on my iPod. I know every word. But here is the sign of a good lyric writer- it means something different to me every time I hear it. And the genius thing about Bebo is that he sings to Jesus a lot, but as you listen, you wonder, “Is he singing to a girl or to God?”- and I love the confusion of that question. Because that is the kind of relationship I want to have with God, too.

The song is “In Your Hands”. Here are the lyrics.

I didn’t know I would love you when I looked into your eyes
But now I have a heart I cannot keep
And the greatest of fear is that you’ll leave me here
Stranded in this water so deep
So don’t you turn away from me
Because my heart and my hopes, they’re in your hands
If I don’t seem certain
It’s just a common fear from a common man
But I am in your hands
Just so you know, I have never done this sort of thing before
I’ve never given up my very soul
But I have heard a voice like none I’ve heard before
And it’s a voice that never grows old
Don’t you turn away from me
Because my heart and my hopes, they’re in your hands
And if I don’t seem certain
It’s just a common fear from a common man
But I am in your hands I am in your hands
I know I am in your hands

He’s a writer. He may also have a great voice and guitar skills, but he is a writer. In my personal opinion, he understands how to combine words in a way that is time tested and memorable. I never fear when a new album comes out- I purchase it because I know that the lyrics are going to make me pause my iPod, think, breathe deep, then repeat the same line over again.

With the DQ-ness going on in my mind right now, I wonder if someday I will write something that makes that kind of impact. This isn’t a call for compliments or encouragement. This is a genuine question in my heart- I wonder if someday, someone I have met once (yes, I met Bebo once in Athens) will pass by a book of mine on a bookshelf, pull it off, flip through it and decide it might be a worthy purchase. She’ll go home, decide nothing good is on television, and grab that book she just bought by that girl she saw one time. She’ll start reading it and at least once have to put it down to breathe deep because the words moved her. And in the end, she’ll realize that all along I was talking about God, not a boy. And she wants to have that kind of relationship with Him, too.

If I ever do write that book, tell that girl to thank Bebo.

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