I took my love and I took it down
I climbed a mountain and I turned around.
And I saw my reflection in the snow-covered hills,
when a landslide brought me down.
The best lyrics are ones that can be universally applied.
Ambiguous enough that each individual can take them and shape them into meaning for themselves; yet descriptive enough in their beauty and imagery that they can call forth particular emotions and a certain spirit of feeling.
I recently performed this Fleetwood Mac song with the choir that I am a part of, and though I had heard this song scores of times over the years (I was partial to the Dixie Chicks version when they were popular, and I was ignorant of the original) when it came time to sit down and truly study this song and learn the lyrics, I found myself unable to make it through the piece without choking up inside.
The words took on a new and deeper meaning for me, as I thought about the journey I’ve been on recently. The expanding of my soul, the trepidation that comes with exploring uncharted territory, the insecurities that surface when you question every single step on the trail…
Consciously walking away from the only way of life I’ve ever known…
Climbing that enormous mountain that is my insecurities, and my questions, and my search for something more…
and turning around to see my reflection in that impermanent, ephemeral snow – losing my footing on all that I had thought was stable and true.
Oh Mirror in the sky, what is love?
Can the child within my heart rise above?
Can I sail through the changing ocean tides?
Can I handle the seasons of my life?
Sometimes life feels new and scary. I don’t have a lot of certainty about much these days. I find myself getting bogged down in over-analysis at times. I’ve told myself over and over again the past couple of years that I’m fine with not having all the answers – but some days I wonder whether I’m just lying to myself. Would I feel more OK, or less out of place if I wasn’t so unsure about everything?
There are some days when depression sinks its greasy fingers into my hollow chest, clutching at my shallow breath, that trying to ponder even sweeping the floor or getting a meal on the table is more than my brain can manage. But then there are days where I feel a surging hope, days when the child within can rise, when I return to the simplicity of belief and the security of unquestioning trust. On those days I can rest, and let my mind wander into the mysterious unknowns.
But under the surface, something rankles…
And yet I reject the notion that if I just had more faith, or just stopped thinking so much, or just stopped asking so many questions, that I wouldn’t feel so uneasy. In some ways, it’s the uneasiness that keeps me going.
Well I’ve been afraid of changing,
’cause I’ve built my life around you.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been afraid. Afraid of making the wrong decisions, of saying the wrong thing, of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. I’ve always been afraid of change.
Church and the Christian faith are the only things I’ve ever known – I’ve built my life around them: the rhythm and routine of Sunday mornings, and the comfort of knowing I held the truth and the secret to ‘abundant life’.
But my faith was actually quite weak, then. It was contingent on those around me being cohesive and in step and in agreement with all the same things as me. So all it took was one question – one tiny pebble slowly gathering momentum down that snow-lined slope.
I’ve been afraid of changing because I’ve been afraid of being wrong…
so if I stick with the crowd, if I stay on the path I was told to walk as a child… at least I’ll have company walking out into that winter.
At least I won’t feel so alone.
But time makes you bolder,
children get older,
I’m getting older too.
These days I don’t feel so afraid anymore. Oh, I still second-guess every decision, every thought. But I’m not so afraid of the questions. Time still folds gently forwards, and I get braver, bolder. I step out and away from the securities I sometimes still desperately want to cling too, but know I can’t and still remain truthful.
I still worry about my children, what mother doesn’t? I worry about what they might be missing out on; I worry that I’m not doing the right thing by them. But still… I see them growing and changing and maturing and getting older – and I hear the questions that they ask, with the trust in their voice, teaching me through their innocence – and I am determined to build a stronger foundation for them. One built on not having to have the right answers, one that can embrace mystery and uncertainty without fear of getting out of step. Knowing that the climb is theirs alone — I want them to forge their own wild paths, step by precious, individual step.
I want them to know that life will still go on if they disagree with me, and that they are free – oh, so free – to fail, at any time. That mummy is right here beside them, for as long as they want me to be (and maybe even when they don’t), that falling down is not the tragedy some make it out to be.
The landslide already brought me down, and I’m still here.