“Open Road”

There are a few musicians I would genuinely give credit to for getting me through various stages of graduate school. My last semester, one of the main ones was a Birmingham, Alabama singer/songwriter/rocker by the name of Matthew Mayfield. While working on job applications today, I had his music playing in the background. One of his songs hit me in a new way, and I looked up the lyrics. I often do this; somehow reading the words while someone is singing them helps me to experience the lyrics differently.

I was captured by the lyrics for “Open Road.” Check it out:

Matthew Mayfield “Open Road”

Here are the lyrics (emphasis mine):

Lay me down on
shores of the whitest sand
soft like that woman
with the fight of a thousand men

and if you hold the key
would you set me free?
if you hold the key
would you set me free?

I’m screaming to God
‘would you come and save
what you’ve either forgot
or you’re strengthening
I’ve finally paid the toll
and it’s all open road
just trying to find a home
take me home’

Violet iris
and lilies in bloom for spring
enticing—the silence
a song that we all can sing

and if find hold the key
would you set me free?
if you find the key
would you set me free?

I’m screaming to God
‘would you come and save
what you’ve either forgot
or you’re strengthening
I’ve finally paid the toll
and it’s all open road
just trying to find a home
take me home’

We’re tired and changing
heartbeats are fading
our days are numbered
the clocks, they keep ticking
I’ve been deserted,
my feelings perverted
by a pissed off and ripped off machine cycle circus
when we look in the mirror
it shatters with shame
our faces are bloody
and sour with disdain
I have seen what you are
and I have seen who I am
and we are desperate, we’re desperate, we’re desperate
for home…
home….

lay me down on
shores of the whitest sand
soft like that woman
with the fight of a thousand men

Daaang. Sometimes it amazes me how I could have listened to a song at least 20 times before (according to my iTunes counter), but not really have absorbed the lyrics. I’m actually kind of ashamed of this fact. That doesn’t say great things about my capacity for paying attention to the important things in life. I know I’ve grown by leaps and bounds as an active listener, but clearly I have a lot of room for growth. Because that is powerful stuff right there, ladies and gentlemen.

The chorus reminds of me of the Psalms. I love the honesty of the Psalms, the sheer audacity they contain. This songs feels similar. I’m screaming to God ‘would you come and save what you’ve either forgot or you’re strengthening. I’ve been there.

The words in the bridge just kind of destroy me. I keep replaying that part over and over. I recognize myself in the words. They could have been written by me, had I the talent and courage to pull them out and wrestle them into submission as Matthew Mayfield has. I have seen what you are and I have seen who I am, and we are desperate, we’re desperate, we’re desperate for home… 

Because we are.

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