January Shuffle 3.0


Is the third time the charm?  Let’s find out!

“Back On Your Side”, Chris Isaak: 21 years ago, I came home from Sweden for my brother’s wedding.  It was my first time back in America in over six months.  I spent almost a month back home, seeing old friends and old haunts.  When I went back to Sweden, I felt different.  Coming back to the USA planted a seed in me that grew until I decided to come back seven months later.  This song reminds me of that time period, the in-between.

“Real Real Gone”, Van Morrison: In the fall of 1990, I went through a brief depression which I wrote about in the first January Shuffle.  When I got out of it, I had a new outlook on life.  I embraced life the best I could.  No one does it alone.  That’s what this song is about!

“I Dare You”, Shinedown: Before they hit it big, Shinedown had this song in 2006.  I couldn’t find it for the longest time, but eventually I did.  “I dare you to tell me to walk through fire.”  We have all walked through the fire in our lives.  The times when we think we are invincible, that we can do anything, regardless of the cost.  Hubris always has a price.

“House of Gold”, Twenty-One Pilots: This is a Jacob song through and through.  This was one of my favorite songs when things went down in a big way for Jacob at school.  This poor kid, dealing with debilitating tics and unable to focus.  Lost in a sea of incompetence and indifference.  I felt hopeless, like there was nothing I could do.  So I vowed to change things.

“Scared”, Judah & the Lion: I’ve listened to this song a lot lately.  Fear usually comes from loneliness.  When you think you have nothing and no one.  It can paralyze you and strange things happen as a result.  It’s when you find that acceptance comes from courage that you fight that fear and see the light.

“You Have No Idea”, Hans Zimmer and Blake Neeley: “The Pacific” was the sequel of sorts to “Band of Brothers”.  I have always had the utmost respect and gratitude for veterans.  The unspeakable horrors the survivors bring back home with them.  They have a different look in their eyes.  They have seen things no one else has.  They have seen the worst humanity has to offer and it forever changes them.  For many of them, they have an innate courage and perseverance that drives them to do things bigger than themselves.  We have no idea what they have truly seen, but we can see them as the heroes they are.

“Speed Your Love To Me”, Simple Minds: One of my all-time favorites from the 1980s.  Simple Minds made it big with that song from “The Breakfast Club”, but oddly enough it was some of their earlier stuff that catapulted them to the tops in my mind.  This song is one I put on if I am walking or running (something I need to do more of when it warms up).

“Hold On”, Richard Ashcroft: Oddly enough, this song reminds me of the day after I broke the news about the change in the local funding formula between the Delaware school districts and the charter schools.  In some aspects, this was when my blog hit its zenith.  I had broken big stories before but this one was huge and no one saw it coming.  It provoked people and angered them.  So much so that they spoke out in huge numbers.  This caused many legislators and state officials to have a very busy day one Sunday last August.  Part of me knew that this was the beginning of the end for this blog.  Much of what came after was a result of that article.  I honestly don’t know what the future holds for this experiment of mine.  Far too much going on outside of it now.  I wonder sometimes if my voice matters anymore.  Have I said too much and muffled out the messages I was trying to get out?

“Creation”, Audiomachine: We are nothing.  In the grand vastness of it all, we are here for a second of time.  Billions have come before us and billions will come after.  The people of yesterday are forgotten unless they did something so big we remember them.  But when we are here, we should all strive to be the best we can be.  Every single one of us is a miracle, created by God.  We all have a purpose and a reason for being here.  We have no clue what kind of impact we can have on others.  One moment can change everything for another person, whether we realize it or not.

“Violin Concerto” (‘L’estate’) The Four Seasons”, Antonio Vivaldi: Vivaldi is awesome!  This piece, from “The Four Seasons”, highlights the best of classical music.  The way the violins build to a deafening crescendo.  I call this one of my Route 1 songs.  This stretch of Delaware highway goes from the top of the state to the bottom.  The C&D Canal Bridge separates what is considered Northern Delaware and “Slower Lower”.  I have managed to figure out, over the years, when to turn on this piece at the exact moment.  When the song reaches that crescendo, I time it so I am at the very top of that bridge.  It is cathartic for me!

“These Are The Days”, Van Morrison: I listened to this song all the time in the months after Jacob was born.  I remember taking him for a walk one early Summer day along the shores of Lake Menifee.  I kept looking at him, this gift of life and hope.  Watching him sleep, coo, or fuss.  He couldn’t smile yet.  But my heart was smiling like never before.  To say I love my son doesn’t even begin to capture what is in my heart.  No parent is perfect.  Others can tell you all the rules but it is a learning curve, from start to finish.  What works for one child doesn’t always work for another.  But Jacob is life, personified in all its flaws and cracks, born from love and grace.

“Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want”, The Smiths: For some reason, I found a lot of music during Christmas break in my junior year of high school.  It snowed that week.  I spent a lot of time in my room, with my stereo just listening to music.  This song seems very depressing.  It is about angst and woe.  What else do you expect a teenager to feel?

“Every You Every Me”, Placebo: In the spring of 1999 I went through a lot of changes.  I had to make peace with old demons and move on.  It was painful and hard.  I had to swallow my pride and bite my tongue and just let things happen.  There was one moment when I could have made a move that might have changed things, but to do so would have cost me my soul.  I made the right choice.

“Glory”, Bastille: This guy’s voice is incredible.  A lot of British singers adapt an American accent.  But Dan Brown sings without reservation and holds nothing back.  I’ve been in a position lately to think about God more than ever before in my life.  There are things I cannot control.  That can be a very bitter pill to swallow.  But swallow that pill I must.  Because some things are more important than how I feel.

“Shower The People”, James Taylor: Today, my life will change.  No matter what.  While I won’t go into details, I do know one thing: I don’t know if I could have reached this point without friends.  Friends who had so much going on in their own lives but took the time to be there for me.  Friends I didn’t realize have some of the biggest hearts I’ve ever experienced.  For the longest time, I felt alone and scared and helpless.  I wish I could have reached out sooner.  Maybe it would have made a difference.  I was on a mission and nothing was going to stop me.  But life did.  No matter what I write or talk about in some public comment, I am nothing without friends.  It has filled me with a sense of renewed purpose and resolve.  No matter what this crazy life throws at me today and everyday going forward, I know I am not alone.  Thank you.  I first heard this song in 1987.  As a part of a religious retreat I was on called “Emmaus”.  It was a big thing for teenagers in my church.  Filled with love and joy for two and a half days.  The goal of the weekend was to help teenagers see God in a new light and then “Pass It On”.  Kind of a pay it forward type of thing.  Thirty years later and I am still walking that walk with God.  Many have passed it on to me lately and my job is to pass it on to others.


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