Lyrics The Love That You Had ? Tracy Chapman
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Lyrics The Love That You Had – Tracy Chapman
That wasn’t why I was there, though. I was there for myfriend. To hear about her sons, her business, her stories I had missed. Toshare my soul, too, that I am lonely here in Utah, that though I love myhusband more than anything, that I miss my old friends, and that new ones havebeen hard to find.
True friends are the ones who love you even though they’veseen you at your worst. There is nothing you can say, nothing you can do, thatwill scare them away. I am grateful for my old friends. They have heard amillion of my confessions. Their gift to me has been their presence,acceptance, and a kind of absolution. So often lately, in my quest forcompanions, I have felt as if I am auditioning for a part. If I could only findthe right words or smile in the right way, then maybe this woman or that onewould be my friend. The magic formula is elusive.
This is where the music of Tracy Chapman comes in. There is nobodysinging today who is more vulnerable, honest or compelling. Listening to hersongs about struggle, pain and a certain, fragile hope reminds me of how I missmy friends, of how rare it is these days that I share my truth or receivestories in return. Like my friends, Chapman’s vulnerability just makes melove her more. Her latest release, Telling Stories, is a remarkablecollection in which she never shies away from the hard questions.Chapman’s focus is the interior landscape, that place where we can beourselves, broken and beautiful at the same time.
Chapman wrote lyrics and music for all 11 songs here, co-producedthe album, and even had a hand in its mixing and art direction. You get thefeeling that it was a labor of love. This love shows up in each of the songs,from musings after a breakup to thoughts on money, obsession and the raw griefof losing a cherished relative.
She wrestles with her worthiness, questioning whether she deserveslove, happiness, salvation. I do this, too. I know intellectually that I amsaved through grace, that I am loved as I am. Sometimes, though, this is hardto believe when I face my mighty collection of daily failures. In “WeddingSong,” Chapman’s lyrics are poetry and hope. “With you I amrevealed/All my shame all my faults and virtues … There is salvation andrapture for the lonely … Bless this day sacred and holy/Sacred andholy.”
Emmylou Harris joins Chapman for “The Only One,” a songwhere grief is given a voice. “She was the only one/Of my flesh andblood/Now I have no calling/I can do no worldly good.” Anyone who has losta friend or loved one can relate to this pain, the feeling of being alone,bereft, without a clue on how to continue. “I sit silent/I sit mourning/Isit listless all the day/I’ve mostly lost the voice to speak.”Chapman gives no easy answers. She does ask a question, one that almost soundslike prayer. “Please forgive me for wanting to know/Does heaven haveenough angels yet?” It’s a good question, the kind that Jesus likes,one that allows him to come to us in our pain, to wait with us until the lightreturns.
The album’s final song, “First Try,” is one of myfavorites. It sums up how I see myself: “I’m just a … first try… Can’t say what I mean/Can’t love from the heart/Can’ttrust in the mercy and the goodness in the world/Can’t learn to acceptthat it’s alright/To struggle with the limits of this ordinarylife.”
I also long to love, speak the truth, and trust that all is wellin the world, that there is a plan even when we can’t see it and thatgoodness and mercy are stronger than all of our sin and shortcomings. Everyday,I wake up and pray that I will live by these truths. Everyday, by the timeI’ve finished breakfast, I’ve already failed. Perhaps the reminderhere is that this failure surprises no one but me. God knows that daily all ofus “struggle with the limits of this ordinary life.” It’s abattle we can’t win alone. But if somehow, in the process, we rememberJesus and allow him to love us, then everything that is wrong in us suddenlybecomes OK again. Our weakness becomes strength.
My story is full of disappointment, failure, and repentance thatdidn’t seem to take. The blessings of my life -- my husband, my farawayfriends and family, my work, my dog -- amaze me. They remind me that each of usfloats in a sea of grace, grace that supports us, sustains us and ultimatelybrings us home. When we get there, someday down the road, we won’t bealone. We’ll find our friends, the ones who loved us all along. Together,we’ll clap and sing the song of all our stories, the winding and twistedpaths that somehow ended up beautiful in the end. Jesus will lead the singing.All the songs -- all the stories -- will become one.
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