“The Gift of Seeing Through” was, I think, the very first song I wrote in 2001. It eventually became the closing track on “Good Day No Rain” which came out in 2003. I remember reading a review of that album that was super positive until it got to “Gift” which it basically said cancelled out the value of the previous 9 songs, it sucked that bad. And I kind of get it. Normally, I steer clear of overt spiritual musings, but this song is all that and a bag of chips. In a strange way, it opened a door for me into a new school of thought and represents a bit of a paradigm shift.

Illusions, plentiful as faces in the crowd
Shining up like fool’s gold from a mountain made of sand
Illusions, draining all my energy, waiting like the enemy
In the darkest hour of my longest night
When I can’t find the words to say
Reach for a moonbeam, cling with all my might
Crawl to my bedside and I pray for the gift of seeing through

I have come to believe there is a wellspring of holiness within me (and everyone else, for that matter). My natural state, if you will. I generally ignore it, allowing my energy to be drained by the myriad illusions and obstacles I create for myself. Every now and then though I manage to surrender to it, rely on it, allow it to guide me and teach me some things. This song was me scratching at the surface of these ideas. By the way, I am so incredibly hesitant to write this kind of stuff but part of my mission with these essays is to have a safe space to think out loud, in the context of my music.

Sometimes, too many times, I take the dead-end road
That leads me back to nowhere fast, with no place else to go
Sometimes, I can’t see the larger thing, for the fear in front of me…

I have spent much of my life speeding down dead-end roads. When I do that, the “larger thing” I can’t see is the peace of God, my holy truth, my unalterable essence. Ego (sometimes synonymous with “addiction” perhaps?) is the roadblock that hinders my awareness and robs me of the memory of who and what I really am. 

But then, every now and then…

Through the broken sky, a ray of sunlight fell
With a whispered sigh, I stumbled from my cell
Well we live and die, then we start the whole thing over.

It’s a cycle in which I still find myself. Death and rebirth. Forgetting and remembering. Forgiveness and judgment.

An honest prayer is like a midnight train
Gonna take you there, through the wind and rain
When you’re cold and scared, and you just can’t make it over.

Bottom line – I love singing this song (especially with a full band!). And I love hearing about the ways it has helped a listener or two along the way.  Ultimately, maybe this one is more medicinal than musical. So screw you, “Good Day No Rain” reviewer guy!!! (Sorry, that was a total ego statement!)