"A tree I’ll grow, to let you know My love is older than my soul
Your tappin shoes, your wicked grace Your precious time, your darker days Days I left you with no space To breathe or ever think of me Without the worry that I’ll always leave
I’ll never leave, I’ll always stay I swear on all that I keep safe" The Lone Bellow
To "bellow" means to emit a deep loud roar, typically in pain or anger. It is a fitting as part of a name for a band born of such pain. The life of the young wife of the lead singer, Zack Williams, was catastrophically disrupted when she was injured in a horse riding accident. Doctors told them she would leave the hospital a paraplegic. Though not having a deep faith, they began to pray and he started to journal.
One of Zack's friends read his writing and suggested he turn them into songs. From that great pain, her miraculous healing, and the songs he wrote from his writing, the Lone Bellow was born. The lyrics above speak of permanence, eternity, and a future. When he sings the line "I'll never leave, I'll always stay", given the circumstance it was written in, it takes on powerful meaning. It also reminds me of how fragile and fleeting relationships can be.
For the first couple of decades of my life, I learned that love and relationship were temporary. They were seasonal, disappointing, and not to be counted on. That seed, deeply planted in me, seeks to flower in every relationship I've known since. There is a whisper that it is my unfortunate heritage, my lot in life, where the inevitable is only a matter of time away. It often leaves me feeling less comfortable than I would like. It was cancerous in the early years of my marriage. It almost took us out.
Having survived a particularly challenging time and having moved into a season of safety and certainty in our marriage, we had a conversation with our kids. They were becoming aware of the culture of divorce in our extended family and in the lives of many of their school friends. We sat them all down and I told their mom that I would never divorce her. She did the same. We reminded them that sometimes we're frustrated and things don't go the way we'd like, but that we would never leave one another. We would do whatever it took to work through it and make things right. They didn't need to fear.
We did that for the kids, but I think it was really for us. Having seen very dark times and standing almost alone in a generational culture of divorce, we needed to hear it from one another. More importantly, I needed to hear myself say it. I have been reminded and referenced that occasion many times since. Zack singing "I'll never leave, I'll always stay" took me back as well. I wonder if that song still deeply stirs them. I wonder if the words bring healing the way they do for me.
There is a small part of me that still thinks I deserve to be left. My past behavior and family history seem to want to confirm it, but I am fighting through. I haven't always been the best guy, but I am getting closer to the man she needs to be and more importantly, the one He intends me to be. Thankfully, that fear of loss is fleeting and infrequent. I am rejecting the lies and building a new culture for the future generations of my family.