To Build A Wall

A day for the building of your walls! On that day, the boundary will be distant. ~ Micah 7:11

There is freedom within, there is freedom without
Try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
There’s a battle ahead, many battles are lost
But you’ll never see the end of the road
While you’re traveling with me

With all the recent talk of “building a wall” and political discord in our country, this song just jumped out at me when it popped up on my Spotify feed a few days ago. As I have explained to some of the folks (thank you very much, both of you) who read this blog regularly, I don’t really pick the songs that are featured; they come to me, begging to be reviewed and remarked upon. This is certainly the case for this song.

Hey now, hey now
Don’t dream it’s over
Hey now, hey now
When the world comes in
They come, they come
To build a wall between us
We know they won’t win

When I first considered writing about it, it was for the more obvious reasons – those of a political nature – and immediate thoughts came to mind. But, as I continued to mull it over and began to formulate the story, other directions began to take shape. And I began to wonder how many people out there are feeling the same way I am right now, especially when it comes to the state of our country and some of the crazy things that seem to be happening.

Now I’m towing my car, there’s a hole in the roof
My possessions are causing me suspicion but there’s no proof
In the paper today tales of war and of waste
But you turn right over to the TV page

Now, I’m not here to launch into a political rant…this is surely not the forum for that. But something I think we ALL can agree on right now is a growing feeling of being a little lost, a bit unsettled. This world – and our lives in it – have never seem to be more divided or polarized. It’s no wonder that so many of us reach for the distractions of TV, routines, or other busy work to keep our heads clear of it. It sure seems it’s much easier to do those things than to address the myriad issues at hand.

Hey now, hey now
Don’t dream it’s over
Hey now, hey now
When the world comes in
They come, they come
To build a wall between us
We know they won’t win

Oftentimes, the result of these distractions is the erosion of our most important blessings in life – our relationships with others. And that erosion can further extend into disillusionment with our relationship with God, as well. So, sometimes we need to simply shut out all of the noise and remind ourselves of what is most important. When He was asked what are the most important of His commandments, Jesus said they were these two: to love our neighbors as ourselves and to love the Lord with all our heart and soul.

Now I’m walking again to the beat of a drum
And I’m counting the steps to the door of your heart
Only shadows ahead barely clearing the roof
Get to know the feeling of liberation and release

Auckland, New Zealand’s Neil Finn founded Crowded House in 1985, along with his older brother Tim and drummer Paul Hester, after the breakup of their former band, Split Enz (“I Got You”, “History Never Repeats”, “One Step Ahead”).  The band name was inspired by the tiny rental house in Los Angeles the guys were living in at the time. Released in 1986, “Don’t Dream It’s Over” was the only major hit for the band, reaching #2 on the U.S. charts, as well as #1 in Canada and New Zealand. Neil explained his meaning in the song as one of feeling kind of hopeless and lost, yet still wanting to urge himself on.

Hey now, hey now
Don’t dream it’s over
Hey now, hey now
When the world comes in
They come, they come
To build a wall between us
We know they won’t win

Urging himself onward is exactly what Neil – and the rest of the band – continued to do. The band went on to record four more albums, but only secured one more minor hit: 1992’s “Weather With You” which reached #7 on the U.K. pop chart. Even so, Neil and Tim soldiered on after Crowded House broke up in 1996, collaborating on a fantastic lp, Finn by the Finn Brothers. The brothers were subsequently rewarded by the Queen as inducted Officers of the Order of the British Empire for their contributions to New Zealand’s musical heritage.

This song, with it’s dreamlike chorus and simple, melodic guitar riff, has always been uplifting to me and stands to remind all of us that are feeling a little lost to persevere. They may indeed come to build a wall between us, but they’ll never, ever win.

Listen to the original here:

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Roots That Spread So Deep

root-tree-2

The LORD is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation…  ~ Exodus 15:2 

Love can make you weep
Can make you run for cover
Roots that spread so deep
Bring life to frozen ground

Stronger as we get older? I’m not so sure. We surely don’t get stronger in the physical sense. But you hear a lot of things; sayings like “that which doesn’t kill you, only makes you stronger”. I’m not sure I believe it. I’m thinking it’s more that we just grow our roots a little deeper, a little further down into terra firma. We’re really only as strong as the earthly support around us. Or are we?

Something so strong
Could carry us away
Something so strong
Could carry us today

I find myself leaning a little more and more each day on inner strength. We all will have trials in this world and the Bible guarantees it. But I think you can learn to better deal with these trials by calling on a different type of strength; that which springs not from this world, but from our Heavenly Father. As  Bill Withers once sang: “Lean on me, when you’re not strong”.

Turning in my sleep
Love can leave you cold
A taste of jealousy
Is like a lust for gold

Crowded House seemed, for many here in the U.S., to have burst upon the scene almost overnight with their smash hit, “Don’t Dream It’s Over” which reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1987. The band’s front men, brothers Neil and Tim Finn, however, had already reached international success with their previous band from  New Zealand – Split Enz – and their 1980 hit single “I Got You”.

music-neil-finn-4

Something so strong
Could carry us away
Something so strong
Could carry us today

By 1984, Split Enz had begun to run it’s course, and Neil, along with drummer, Paul Hester, decided to form a new band during the Split Enz farewell tour, aptly named Enz With A Bang.  The new band, originally called The Mullanes (Neil’s middle name), got off to a great start, easily securing a new deal with Capitol Records on the strength of Split Enz’s success and huge fan base in Australia and New Zealand. Brother Tim was soon to follow along, as did former Split Enz bassist, Nick Seymour.

I’ve been feeling so much older
Frame me and hang me on the wall
I’ve seen you fall into the same trap
This thing is happening to us all

Here’s a few interesting tidbits about the band:

  • Capitol Records didn’t like the original band name, so Neil changed it to Crowded House in reference to the tiny house the band shared in L.A. early on.
  • Bassist Nick Seymour did the cover art for all the band’s albums.
  • Under intense pressure from Capitol to quickly record a second album to capitalize on their debut; Neil’s working title for the second album was  Mediocre Follow Up.
  • Neil took everyone by surprise in 1996, when at the press conference for the release of the band’s greatest hits collection, Recurring Dream, he announced that Crowded House was disbanding.

Something so strong
Could carry us away
Something so strong
Could carry us today

So, while all of us will suffer with burdens that sometimes seem to great to bear, take heart. Just lean on that inner strength that comes from above and don’t let your troubles carry you away.

Listen to the boys from “down under” here:

And lest we forget the Split Enz hit, check it out here:

Sources  for this post include: