Harmonizing: “Firewood” by Regina Spektor “Brave Dreamer” by Jewel

There are two dreams and two songs, spinning my thoughts like a record.

Two ideas have a hold of my mind tonight:

Everything is a preparation for something else.

An ending is just another beginning.

There is so much HOPE in this rotation.

I am a songwriter. But I haven’t written anything new since I became pregnant. I’ve been too tired to hear the melodies. I have also been heartbroken.

I used to write songs with a band. I had never had a band before, and it was wonderful. To spend time with like-minded creatives and produce beautiful music just by showing up and being ourselves, and to practice out loud the catch and release, to seduce the harmonies and birth the song babies into full sound ringing in my heart and out into the air, it was magical at best.

At worst, it was awkwardly tip-toeing around a secret I knew would implode the band and navigating the turbulent waters of my best friend’s divorce. She was married to the drummer. They broke up before our third rehearsal.

From here, two years post-band mortem, I can see what the purpose was. It was never about playing any gigs or making any money or building a fan base. Each person needed another in the group to look into like a mirror, to reflect an image, a truth about one another that we each had been blind to. And when things got impossibly ugly, we had our sweet music to crash softly into. And these are achingly beautiful memories that remind me: I am a songwriter.

I am a mother. But I haven’t become the stay at home mother I so desperately wish to be because I also teach full time in an elementary school.

I keep very busy running around the building from room to room, teaching 20 minute lessons back to back to back to every student in the school. I spend recesses pumping breastmilk and lunches in my office trying to complete every other task I possibly can before I go home, so at least in those small hours, I can just be his mama. I am exhausted all the time, and there is a lot of work I do that goes unpaid. At best, I am serving some higher purpose and becoming a better mother because I teach.

At worst, I’m selling my soul, pretending passion for what I spend most of my hours doing, when many times, I am uninspired and drained by the work. Equally draining is the knowledge that this isn’t a choice anymore. I try to begin the year with a renewed sense of purpose and hope, but it quickly burns in the fires of government regulation and the subsequent administrative embers of tedious paperwork, contrived goals and endless meetings. It all feels soulless and wrong. What the times have done to teachers, what we have let them do to the craft, is tragic indeed.

And yet, I can see in a million different ways how the past four years burning there have refined me for motherhood like nothing else could, and how it was being refined like silver in FAITH that delivered me there from the dull and brassy denial I lived before. I am now confident and secure in who I was created to be because of the things I’ve learned by teaching and caring for young students alongside some remarkable spirits in this place. My students reveal in me a natural ability to shine and to take care and to give love at any cost, and although the work many times leaves me suffocating and searching for the nearest exit, it also reminds me: I am a mother.

But, as we know, it’s all in the mindset. I can see it as fixed and hopeless and be a prisoner, or I can see it as a chance to grow and become something greater than I dreamed. I can choose to jump ship in angry defiance of my purpose in this role as full time working mother, teacher, STILL… and pay the consequences, which are a costly loss of the treasures of precious time and JOY. Or, I can choose to sail the high seas, get drunk off the rum and sea salt gifts and sing out for joy and Providence from this crow’s nest, a stubborn anthem you can’t get out of your head:

The dream’s not in view yet, but the dream is NOT dead!

It’s almost as if my dreams have let go of the blooms of past seasons, the songs and the desires and the hopes, and they’ve gone dormant, settling into the ground before it freezes so when the sun rises on them and they thaw once again, they’ll be prepared to be what they really should be, mature and strong and realized.

I can teach and be happy.

I can work and be a wonderful mother.

I can write the songs and sing them, too.

And the deal made with Providence is to show up and do the things I am called to do; to arise and work, to teach and write and sing and raise my child.

To be faithful to the Creator and His process of creation.

To decorate His air space with beautiful melodies and even more beautiful babies and LIVE.

To answer His call with humility and grace, because now my son is watching.

My whole world is watching.

Even if it sounds and looks and feels different than the dream.

As the Celtic Vow of Friendship suggests, “I hold no cherished outcomes.”

And the dream is NOT dead.

What are your dreams?

Stay the course. Don’t give up.

The dream is NOT dead.


Because of the dual nature of this post, there are two voices in my head today..

Enjoy in full knowledge that the dream lives and lives again!

“Firewood” by Regina Spektor

The piano is not firewood yet
They try to remember but still they forget
That the heart beats in threes
Just like a waltz
And nothing can stop you from dancing

Rise from your cold hospital bed
I’ll tell you, you’re not dying
Everyone knows you’re going to live
So you might as well start trying

The piano is not firewood yet
But the cold does get cold
So it soon might be that
I’ll take it apart, call up my friends
And we’ll warm up our hands by the fire

Don’t look so shocked
Don’t judge so harsh
You don’t know
You are only spying
Everyone knows it’s going to hurt
But at least we’ll get hurt trying

The piano is not firewood yet
But a heart can’t be helped
And it gathers regret
Someday you’ll wake up and feel a great pain
And you’ll miss every toy you ever owned

You’ll want to go back
You’ll wish you were small
Nothing can solve your crying
You’ll take the clock off of your wall
And you’ll wish that it was lying

Love what you have and you’ll have more love
You’re not dying
Everyone knows you’re going to love
Though there’s still no cure for crying

“Dreamer” by Jewel


Don’t want to hear no sad songs
I say to the darkness
but it doesn’t respond
I ask if I sing a new one
will I always sing alone
so long I have known only sorrow
how could I fail to hear
the sound of all the sleeping hearts
the timid hopefuls waiting for a path to be clear
I can hear a sweet melody
beneath it all
and it says brave dreamer
dream a new you won’t always dream by yourself
you won’t be dream by yourself everybody’s gonna sing along
loneliness has bit my heart
I know its wounded your heart too
but our longing is our revolution
its going to bring world anew
I can hear a sweet melody
beneath it all
and it says brave dreamer dream a new
you won’t always dream by yourself
you won’t dream by yourself
everybody’s got to sing along
but is it possible
I say yes its possible
made it possible
oh I can hear a sweet melody
beneath it all
and it says be brave dreamer
dream a new
you won’t always dream by yourself
no you won’t dream by yourself
no no you won’t dream by yourself
everybody’s gonna sing along


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