But For God's Grace
I wrote this song back in 2016 after a series of tragedies that took place within a few short days of each other.
The first event was a traffic accident that my husband and I happened upon near our home around June 20. We noticed in the rear view mirrors emergency vehicles quickly gaining on us and then noticed several passenger cars pulled over to the side of the road ahead of us - as well as a motorcycle that was on its side and its driver laying across a cement island face down, motionless. We passed the scene again about 30 minutes later - heading in the opposite direction - at which point the incident had already been cleared. We combed the local news sites that evening to determine the motorcyclist's status, but found no information. To this day I still wonder what the fate of the driver was - whether he had been severely injured or if he had passed away.
Two weeks later, Philando Castile was shot and killed after being pulled over by a St. Anthony police officer. This incident struck a nerve for a lot of people in the Twin Cities as this young man was shot and killed while following an officer's orders and after informing the officer of his permit to carry a firearm. By all accounts, this was a young man who was well loved and respected by his community and the children for which he served at J.J. Hill Montessori Magnet School in St. Paul. His passing has left a lasting impression on the community and became a tipping point - one of many - that has brought police profiling against people of color to the forefront.
Eight days later came the truck attack on the Bastille Day celebration taking place in Nice, France. With so many friends and colleagues that were in France at the time, and with the horrific news stories of the people who lost their lives to another senseless attack, I was starting to feel the brunt of so many lives that had been lost in such a short period of time.
The lyrics express the feeling of loss - not only due to so many passing - but that the tip of the scale of injustice...like a tectonic shift, even though I was not familiar with the individuals lost. So many people who had their lives ahead of them and which were cut short due to a twist of fate.There is a reference to the full moon that was present on June 20 as well as a prayer that each of these souls is now embraced by star light...returning to the universe.
Although I work-shopped this song with my band several times, it seemed like an inappropriate song to perform for gigs and I questioned whether it was appropriate to record. Sadly, there has been no shortage of senseless and tragic events in the past year. Sometimes you need a song to help you get through these tough times.