If you spend some time reading or listening to the psalms, you know that they often speak of the deepest desires, joys and pains of the psalmist, which are often feelings we can relate to. We all know the pain of abandonment, and the joy of knowing that someone is there for us, as well as the desire for relationship with God, and with others. People didn’t stop writing psalms in ancient times. It’s just that we don’t call them that anymore. We call them pop songs, rock ballads or hip-hop beats. We hear them all the time. And, sometimes, we really stop to listen because a particular song speaks to our experience—who we are or who we want to be. Sometimes a song, like a psalm can tell us what God wants to say to us, or sometimes it simply just resonates deeply with the experience of being human. Occasionally, I’m going to introduce you to a song that I consider a “PsalmSong,” and explore what it might say to us, to you.
“I don’t know what I’ve done, or if I like what I’ve begun,” begins Missy Higgins’ song, “Where I Stood.” It’s the voice of a woman grateful for a relationship that has taught her a lot about who she is, and what love is really about. But it is also the story of a woman realizing the consequences of what she has learned. As much as she loves the person she’s addressing in the song, she has come to realize that she is not the best person for him, and that it would be selfish to hold onto him, even if he wants to be held on to. She realizes that she has to move on without him, for his good and hers. The refrain expresses it well:
“I don’t know who I am, who I am without you. All I know is that I should. And I don’t know if I can stand another hand upon you. All I know is that I should. ‘Cause she will love you more than I could—she who dares to stand where I stood.”
Many of us have been in relationships that we’ve found it hard to let go of. And some of us have realized what this song realizes: that love conquers all, but not always in the way we imagine. Our love for someone doesn’t necessarily mean that the two of us are meant to be together forever. Sometimes it means letting the other person have a better life, a life we cannot give them, because we love them. This is hard, and painful, but also right, and this song expresses all these emotions so well. And, perhaps surprisingly, amidst this flurry of emotion, there is that gratitude that I spoke of at the beginning, because this woman knows she wouldn’t have been able to see things this clearly if not for having had the relationship she is letting go of. “You taught me how to trust myself,” she says, even if at the same time she might wish he hadn’t.
Check it out on YouTube.