Several of the songs that make up the CMY(K) project are written for and about friends. I am posting the letters I’ve written to these friends letting them know about their song. Below is the letter I wrote to a friend whose loss of faith came at the cost of our friendship to some degree. Not because we didn’t want to converse about our differences but because, after years of Christ being the foundation of our love for one another, we lacked the language with which to rebuild. I wrote the song “Must Be Hell On You” for this friend. The song appears on the EP “C” and you can listen to it at the Vimeo player below.
You may recall a conversation a while back during which I mentioned that part of my next project was written with you in mind. The attached song “Must Be Hell On You” was specifically written for you. I’ve actually been sitting on it since early 2008. I needed time to figure out what the song was about for me and the more I realized what I’d written, the more inappropriate it felt to simply drop it on an album without writing to you about it. It’s not just a song for you or about you; it’s a way for me to reconcile.
I miss you in my life. I think you know that but you have never heard me say it. I specifically miss the place you had in my life for many years. I remember talking on the phone after reading the embarrassing letters Christians had written to Richard Dawkins. I told you on the phone that you were one of the few friends in my life who helped me feel normal as a person of faith. You shared that I played the same role for you. That short list is much, much shorter without you on it.
I remember the way your dramatic life-change was, for years, the clearest evidence of God I knew. I know now what kind of pressure that placed on you. I also know, only now, what an impact it has had on me that you no longer attribute that change to God. Only as time has passed and we’ve grown more distant have I noticed how much I lost when you, for lack of a better term, ‘lost your faith.’
I’ve never blamed you for “walking away.” Actually, I’ve never thought of it as “walking away”. I know it wasn’t a matter of simple pride or your inability to deal with some tragedy. I know that, at some point, you simply realized that you no longer believed. It would have been easier for me (maybe even for you) if something had happened which we could sit down and work through.. but there was nothing like that. In fact, that was just it.. at some point there was nothing where all along you believed there was Something. I have never really known what to do with that… I wish I didn’t feel like I ‘lost you’ when that happened, but in some way I did.
Up to this point this is only a confession. One you have been owed for a long time. But it’s not all of why I wrote the song. As I started off saying, I wrote this song as a way of reconciling; reconciling thoughts and feelings within me but also, hopefully reconciling with you.
While I don’t propose to entirely empathize with you (you know that I’ve had my fair share of faith crises) I wanted you to know that I have some sense of what you have lost as well. When your faith crisis ceased to be a crisis and became a verdict, you lost a community and you lost God.. at least what you thought was God for so many years. And so… I wanted to honor you, as you are, with this song because you are my friends and I love you.
Here are a few things I’d like you to know about “It Must Be Hell On You”:
-I wrote the song from your perspective instead of mine.
-I crafted the verses from bits of conversation we’ve had.
-I tried to simply tell your story without making an allowance or excuse… because I don’t need you to “come around” in order to see Truth in your story and in you.