Songs of the South: God’s Will, I’ve Had My Moments

It is hard to avoid songs that participate in a bit of “inspiration porn” when playing southern music about people with disabilities, so I am going to turn to two songs my late wife  — who both dealt with visible and invisible disabilities — found relateable.

The first, “God’s Will”, is about a person like herself who discovered his experience of disability as a channel of God’s grace, not a curse to be healed:

 

I met God’s will on a Halloween night
He was dressed as a bag of leaves
It hid the braces on his legs at first

His smile was as bright as the August sun
When he looked at me
As he struggled down the driveway
It almost made me hurt

Will don’t walk too good
Will don’t talk too good
He won’t do the things that the other kids do
In our neighborhood

I’ve been searchin’, wonderin’, thinkin’
Lost and lookin’ all my life
I’ve been wounded, jaded, loved, and hated
I’ve wrestled wrong and right
He was a boy without a father
And his mother’s miracle
I’ve been readin’, writin’, prayin’, fightin’
I guess I would be still
Yeah, that was until
I knew God’s will

Will’s mom had to work two jobs
We’d watch him when she had to work late
And we’d all laugh like I hadn’t laughed
Since I don’t know when

Hey Jude was his favorite song
At dinner he’d ask to pray
And then he’d pray for everybody in the world but him

I’ve been searchin’, wonderin’, thinkin’
Lost and lookin’ all my life
I’ve been wounded, jaded, loved, and hated
I’ve wrestled wrong and right
He was a boy without a father
And his mother’s miracle
I’ve been readin’, writin’, prayin’, fightin’
I guess I would be still
Yeah, that was until
I knew God’s will

Before they moved to California
His mother said they didn’t think he’d live
And she said each day that I have him
Well It’s just another gift
And I never got to tell her
That the boy showed me the truth
In crayon red, on notebook paper
He’d written me and God love you

I’ve been searchin’, prayin’, wounded, jaded
I guess I would be still
Yeah that was until
I met God’s will on a Halloween night
He was dressed as a bag of leaves

The second, Emerson Drive’s “I’ve Had My Moments”, includes a person with the invisible disability of emotional or mental illness:

I was coming to the end of a long, long walk
When a man crawled out of a cardboard box
Under the E. Street Bridge
Followed me on to it
I went out halfway across
With that homeless shadow tagging along
So I dug for some change
Wouldn’t need it anyway
He took it lookin’ just a bit ashamed
He said, ‘you know, I haven’t always been this way.’

I’ve had my moments, days in the sun
Moments I was second to none
Moments when I knew I did what I thought I couldn’t do
Like that plane ride coming home from the war
That summer my son was born
And memories like a coat so warm
A cold wind can’t get through
Lookin’ at me now, you might not know it
But I’ve had my moments

I stood there tryin’ to find my nerve
Wondering if a single soul on earth
Would care at all
Miss me when I’m gone
That old man just kept hanging around
Lookin’ at me, lookin’ down
I think he recognized
That look in my eyes
Standing with him there, I felt ashamed
I said, ‘you know, I haven’t always been this way.’

I’ve had my moments, days in the sun
Moments I was second to none
Moments when I knew I did what I thought I couldn’t do
Like the day I walked away from the wine
For a woman who became my wife
And a love that, when it was right
Could always see me through
Lookin’ at me now, you might not know it
But I’ve had my moments

I know somewhere ’round a trashcan fire tonight
That old man tells his story one more time
He says

I’ve had my moments, days in the sun
Moments I was second to none
Moments when I knew I did what I thought I couldn’t do
Like that cool night on the E. Street Bridge
When a young man almost ended it
I was right there, wasn’t scared a bit
And I helped to pull him through
Lookin’ at me now, you might not know it
Oh, lookin’ at me now, you might not know it
But I’ve had my moments, I’ve had my moments, I’ve had my moments, I’ve had my moments

 

What experiences of both healing and also one’s experience of disabilities, seen or unseen, as some channel of grace have you had?  Where does your experience not fit these two categories, and how do you make sense of that in your faiht?

Your progressive redneck preacher,

Micah

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