My good friend SaraBeth Geoghegan has been singing me through the years since we met in 2004. A few moons ago, I was able to make it to a concert where she introduced a new song, which now entitles this blog post. Beautifully written, the song speaks to her ability to write music that puts into words many emotions which are difficult to otherwise verbalize. You can check out SaraBeth’s site, here and I’d highly recommend it!
Here are a few selected lyrics from “This Country You,” which guide my post:
My train takes me into this country you,
to see the sprawling hills of people and places.
The face of your mother there in the field of irises
and in the aspen trees, your father smiles at me.
And I ride through, this country you.
I love the people here who take my hand, invite me in.
They speak to me with fire about living.
And I ride through, this country you,
I close my eyes and ride through, this country you.
And I never stop feeling wonder for the land, the people, the creatures in you.
I am Columbus in a brand new world,
the world that feels a lot like home.
And I ride through… this country you.
And I love this country you.
People, in and of themselves, are foreign countries. They are lands which house abyssal complexities, mysteries which are layered like Mother Earth’s crust. They are deep, for good reason, for it should not be easy to learn all of the roads in another’s country.
Relationships, whether they be romantic, platonic, familial, or friendships, connect with an unspoken covenant to allow the other to ride through you. To allow the other party admission into your soul, the country that you have created, is a large task and honor indeed. What will they see? And will they identify; will they approve? We allow them in and we hope that they come in peace and treat us with tenderness.
A modern English word for this is the dreaded “v” word…
It can be frightening to let down those maximum-security walls you have constructed for the express purpose of emotional, spiritual, mental protection. We have those for good reason; some folks cannot be entrusted with entrance into all things you. But some can and are not given the chance.
It’s hard to remember how beautiful, and I do mean beautiful, it can be to know someone. For them to have invited you and you to have gently accepted. To explore everything that makes them who they are with awe and wonder: the roads, the twists, the sunsets, the thunderstorms, the mountains: the good things, like joy, passions, knowledge, inspirations, hobbies, grace, kindness, and spirituality and the bad, like prejudice, fear, shame, malice, and loneliness.
If someone in your life has given you that privilege, please, don’t take it lightly. It’s a beautiful thing, a rare thing, a necessary thing, to be let into someone. It’s what humans deeply long to have. It’s the stuff that gets remembered, much more than the tangible things of this earth.
And the funny thing is, when we do this, even though we feel like foreigners, we often find that we are home.
So today, I close my eyes, and I ride through this country you.
Where have your travels taken you and what stories do you have to tell?
What a unique and wonderful way of sharing the complexities of building a relationship with someone and the uniqueness that each soul is like their own country! Love it!
Thanks so much; I think it’s difficult to honor all of the parts of someone in a friendship, but a really spiritual experience if and when it happens. Something worth living into, I think.
Great post. I try to ride this train every day, but it can be challenging. People are very complex. Which places are real and which are just the facades of towns? Am I on the right track at all? Which places are sacred and which places mundane? As you know, I work with people who have made a practice of it to deceive themselves and others, but they are striving to change and I try to facilitate them. Navigating that terrain can often be difficult.
Ah, which are sacred and which are mundane? I suppose it takes reflection to recognize the holy within us and treat it with gratitude so that it doesn’t become mundane.