Geek in Afghanistan » Journal » John Mayer and the Song That Tells All About Me

John Mayer and the Song That Tells All About Me

I’ve been looping this song a lot lately.

Shadow Days. . .

Did you know that you could be wrong
And swear you’re right
Some people been known to do it all their lives

But you find yourself alone
Just like you found yourself before
Like I found myself in pieces on the hotel floor

Hard times help me see
I’m a good man with a good heart
Had a tough time, got a rough start
But I finally learned to let it go
Now I’m right here, and I’m right now
And I’m hoping, knowing somehow
That my shadows days are over
My shadow days are over now

Well I ain’t no trouble maker
And I never meant her harm
But it doesn’t mean I didn’t make it hard to carry on
Well it sucks to be honest (honest)
And it hurts to be real
But its nice to make some love that I can finally feel

Hard times let me be
I’m a good man with a good heart
Had a tough time, got a rough start
But I finally learned to let it go
Now I’m right here, and I’m right now
And I’m hoping, knowing somehow
That my shadows days are over
My shadow days are over now

I was always taught to hang on to regret and mistakes. In my home they are a weapon brandished consistently. If you make mistakes, have faults or screw something up, you can guarantee that it is going to come up later in an argument. (This is called the “gunny sack”—saving up mistakes and wrongs to use at another time.) So you learn two things: don’t risk enough to make mistakes or cover them quickly.

This was the norm. This was standard. I have carried regret and sorrow for years that should have expired long ago. But I’ve held on to them because I’ve believed that letting go is the same as not caring. Once the grief ended, I would appear callous and cold.

I regret not doing better in high school. I regret pursuing a major I wasn’t entirely dedicated to. I regret words I said in high school to people. I’m nearly 40. This is quite the stockpile.

These memories, these jabs, will come at me when I’m down for the count. But slowly, very slowly, I’ve been letting these memories slide. I’ve been saying goodbye to them and I toss them behind me like a flyer on a windshield. Some big. Some small. But I’m feeling a bit lighter.

When I’m by myself, walking here in Afghanistan, they float to my thoughts, disturbing whatever peace I have at the time. And like I’ve said, like an episode of Hoarders, I ask myself, “Do I want to hang on to this? Does anyone ELSE on the planet care or even remember this? Does God, a loving Father, want this revolving around my mind?” And I hold out the memory like a pile of sand and let it drift out of my mind. And I feel a bit lighter, a bit taller.

I think there is a difference between being callous and harboring regret. Callousness is being unfeeling towards the harm we cause; we are a wrecking ball on the path of what we want. But after the conflict is resolved, after a confession is made of its wrong, I think we can let that stuff go. Otherwise it seeps into us and defines and burdens us; it shapes us in unhealthy ways.

I think this is where the Fruit of the Spirit comes into play, which there is no law against. If we are loving or patient, peaceful, or kind, there can be no regret in that. And I think I have to focus on having the Fruit more than obsessing about regretting less.

But like my good pal John talks about, I’m a good man and I have a good heart (only cause of Jesus, trust me.) I’m finally learning to let go of my past and all the damage I have caused over the years. I’d change it if I could, but I have to move on.

People have gotten out for murder in less time than I’ve held on to some of the stupid mistakes I’ve made. They have done their time and I’ve done mine and it’s about time I start living like I’m free and out of prison.

Cause I am. I’m free.

 

    5 Comments

  1. Tyler
    2012/06/09 at 20:52

    Ryan – love love love what God is doing with you over there. Thank you for sharing

    Reply
  2. Terry
    2012/06/09 at 21:13

    Beautiful writing.

    Love what you are doing with you over there.

    Reply
  3. Lara
    2012/06/09 at 22:35

    xo, brother. xo

    Reply
  4. Missy
    2012/06/11 at 22:37

    I didn’t know you then, but what I know of you now… you’re a pretty great guy.
    (((((hugs)))))

    Reply
    • Ryan (Author)
      2012/06/12 at 12:09

      Awww.

      Reply