The ‘how’ and ‘why’ of this collection of songs
Fundamentally, music can be placed into two categories: music that is created out of an emotional response and music that is created to procure an emotional response. Whether that emotion is joy, angst, awe, or pain, it all stems out of a need to communicate with or invoke something within the listener. These songs come out of the former of both categories…they were written during what has been the darkest period of my life.
It all started on Sunday, November 11th 2012, when Sarah and I received the best news we could ever receive: we were going to have a baby. To some, this is not a pleasant surprise, and is immediately followed by panic and frequent pacing. However, for us, who had been trying for almost a year and a half to get pregnant, this was truly an answer to our prayers. We spent the next month dreaming, planning, thinking, and taking in each moment as our joy was finally complete.
Right around this time period, I accepted another position with a reputable financial company. I was excited, but also very nervous about leaving my current company and the relationships there (not to mention the comfortable paycheck). On December 19th, I told my current employer about my new job, starting on February 4th, 2013. I assured my management team that the reason I was letting them know so far ahead was to enable them to post the open position and allow me to train someone on my day-to-day responsibilities. Two hours after my manager assured me this was fine, I was called into HR, and within the hour following that meeting, I was packing up my desk and escorted out like a common criminal. I will never know why I was treated like that…I had a good relationship with the people, I worked hard and did my job well, but was rejected in the end and left without the privilege of a proper goodbye…
Three days later, the second bomb would drop. On Saturday, December 22nd, on a day that was supposed to be full of time with my brother-in-law, movies, and good food, the unthinkable happened. Sarah noticed that something was wrong with her body…and by the evening, we were in the Phoenixville emergency room being told that we had lost our baby. The experience was the hardest thing that we have ever gone through, both together and separately. We were absolutely devastated. The whole world seemed to be ripped out from under us and there was no comfort to be found. We grieved for the loss of our child…we grieved for the realization that we would have to go back to month-to-month hope of disappointment…we grieved over the most precious gift we had ever been given being taken away so quickly. We grieved.
So I did what I always do when I’m in a position of extreme emotional instability: I wrote. I wrote music and songs, some of which will only ever be heard by me and God. I wrote and rewrote lyrics because no words seemed to capture what I was feeling. I wrote to get my mind focussed on something other than loss. I wrote to have something that I could control. I wrote because it was all I knew how to do. I wrote.
And this is where The Sorrow Sessions began. Sitting in a hospital room with the realization that our child would never be born. The realization a few days prior that sometimes doing the right thing can cause you pain and financial instability. The realization that nothing would be the same after that week…nothing. Perspective changes. Your outlook changes. And to some degree, your view of grace changes forever. I’ll never know why God chose to call our baby home so quickly. I’ll never know why He put me out of work for a month and left me feeling rejected by a company that I trusted in and loved. I’ll never know why He caused my wife so much pain and deep depression when she is the most beautiful and compassionate person I have ever known.
But I do know that in the end, it won’t matter. I know that God is sovereign, life moves on, and we must keep breathing when all else around us falls apart. These songs are meant to capture that feeling. They are meant to express how I felt in those hours of the night in tears…those minutes in the ER with my stomach in my throat….those days spent in bed wishing that God would just take us home and we could exit this current life of sorrow and trial. They are not happy. They are not joyful. Nor are they intended to be. However, they are written to encourage…to connect…and to communicate that though life can be dark and filled with sorrow…though you can loose everything dear to you…though the ground you stand on can ripped from under you…you can get to the other side. You can find hope again. You can find your footing again…even when it all comes crashing down