At Your Gate
Comment from Mike about ‘At Your Gate’
I wrote this song after I read a book reflecting on the Song of Songs. At Your Gate is about a stepping stone. It’s about getting to an edge in one’s life, wherever or whatever that may be, looking over to the other side and yearning to cross. The song rests in that ache of decision. History, comfort and pain, future, uncertainty and promise all ringing in a moment. Should I continue in my ways arranging the old or should I take a leap towards this new and uncertain direction? What do I want, and what does my heart say? Its work, faith, parenting, marriage, doing the right thing, correcting, loving, bending, breaking…it’s all of the above.
A year ago I was in Hawaii with a friend playing shows. My friend, an avid jumper, led me to a waterfall deep within the rainforest. A little to the side of the pouring water was a ledge where brave souls would take their leap towards the green spring below. After two or three times of watching my friend indulge himself I found myself standing on that slick, cold rock ledge looking down at the water. From the ground level, the pool looked inviting and reserved, but from 60 feet up somehow it lost its allure. My friend turned to me, looked me in the eyes and said “I will not pressure you to do this, you can turn now and I will not be disappointed in anyway. I realize this is not for everyone. Now, if you don’t mind, im gonna jump”. He turned, pushed off and dropped so fast from my luscious green surroundings.
I stayed standing, tightly grasping a tree behind me. For a couple of minutes I stood with my head racing, going through picture after picture of all the possible scenarios. I then realized, it is not the fall that I am afraid of but rather how it will end. How will it end? Pain? Joy? A sting on my back from overcompensating in one direction? I could turn, go back down the cliff and forget about it. My friend said he would not be mad. We can continue hiking and then later go out to dinner. The truth is I knew if I turned around and walked down that cliff I would never truly walk away from that moment. I knew that for the rest of my life I would be hounded by the question, “what would have happened?” I also knew that if I did jump I would never ask myself “what if I didn’t and walked down the cliff?”
It is not the fall that is frightening; it’s the uncertainty of how it will end. The leap of faith is not a faith in the fall, its faith in how things will turn out. I then realized how amazing it would be to be free falling, you know, assuming I land smoothly in the water. Wow! “Ok, let’s say the landing is great, smooth and painless, I have an opportunity to fall without fear!” I then started getting excited by the thought of weightlessness, of floating for those few seconds with the green world blurred around me. What a joy that could be! For those few seconds I would have nothing to do but focus on the joy of my falling, of gravity in effect, of the natural world working on me. I wanted to feel that joy. I wanted to feel that freedom from falling, that freedom through falling. I yearned to experience it. As I stood there, the yearning grew more and more, louder and louder to the point where I could no longer take it. I made a decision. With a deep breath I bent my right knee, stepped my left foot out and let go of the tree. I was falling and it was blissful.