wave on wave

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Me and Pat

A few years ago, I had the chance to meet the man who sings the soundtrack to much of my life. That’s him up there. His name is Pat Green. And yes, he’s a lot taller than me. Most people are.

When I met him, I tried to tell him how much his music means to me. I fumbled for words and finally said something really goofy like, “I need you to know that you’re my escape.” I’m pretty sure that it was far more Ohmigod I like totally love you! than Oh, hey, I’m a big fan of your work, but no matter, he gave me a hug, smiled for a picture and then went on stage to do what he does.

It is Sunday night.

Brooke and I get into the car to run an errand. The music comes on with the engine, as it always does in Mama’s car. As the familiar chords fill the space, I can’t help but smile. When Pat’s voice kicks in, I’m right there with him.

Mile upon mile I got no direction
We’re all playing the same game
We’re all looking for redemption
Just afraid to say the name.

“Brooke,” I say, “have you heard this song before? This is one of Mama’s favorites.”

So caught up now in pretending
What we’re seeking is the truth
I’m just looking for a happy ending
All I’m looking for is you.

“Mmm, hmm,” she says.

“And you know what, baby?” I ask.

“What?”

And it came upon me wave on wave
You’re the reason I’m still here
Am I the one you were sent to save?
It came upon me wave on wave.

“Every time I hear it, it reminds me of you.”

“It does?” she asks in her signature sing-song — more rote response than question.

“It does,” I say. “And that means that every time I hear it, I smile.”

I wandered out into the water
And I thought that I might drown
I don’t know what I was after
I just know I was going down.

I don’t tell her that even though I know it’s meant to be a love song from a man to a woman, for me, it’s something very different.

That’s when she found me
Not afraid anymore
She said you know I always had you, baby
Just waiting for you to find what you were looking for.

I don’t tell her that, for me, the song reads like an atlas. That what I hear in it is my journey to acceptance. To her. To myself. To God.

I don’t tell her that those things are actually all one in the same or that the journey was — is — really just the discovery of what was already there. I don’t tell her that that’s the story I hear in the song.

And it came upon me wave on wave
You’re the reason I’m still here
Am I the one you were sent to save?
It came upon me wave on wave.

I don’t tell her that she saved her mama, that she saves me every day – from pretense, from self-importance, from a life lived on the surface, from never having seen the beauty of what lies below. I don’t tell her that, autism or not, that is what parenthood does; it breaks and builds and ultimately saves. 

The clouds broke and the angels cried
You ain’t gotta walk alone
That’s why they put me in your way
And it came upon me wave on wave.

I don’t tell her that I wandered out into the water to try to “fix” her. I don’t tell her that there was a time that I thought that I might drown. I don’t tell her that I finally discovered what I was looking for. I don’t tell her that it was her.

I don’t tell her that the most fruitful journeys are the ones that bring us back to where we began. I don’t tell her that along the way I learned that redemption is something we won’t find anywhere but within ourselves, where God is.

There will plenty of time for all that.

For now,  I just tell her that I love the song. And that it reminds me of her.

And then I sing along with Pat. And I smile.

And it came upon me wave on wave
You’re the reason I’m still here
Am I the one you were sent to save?
It came upon me wave on wave.

10 thoughts on “wave on wave

  1. “… it breaks and builds and ultimately saves.” You nailed it with that line Jess. Thanks for putting it so poignantly. I’m in a “breaking” period today, but know it won’t last but a moment in our lives. I’ll get built up again when they next look at me with ‘those eyes’, and my heart will fill with purpose once again. They do ‘save’ us…don’t they… ♥

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