I’ve never been a casual listener of music. Try as I might, listening to music for the sake of hearing sound has never done it for me. Even as far back as fourth grade I can distinctly remember sitting at our dining room listening to Color Me Badd and recording specific songs on to blank tapes hoping they’d help woo a lucky lady. But I wouldn’t stop with the recordings alone. I’d take the cover from inside the cassette case and write down the specific lyrics I wanted her to focus on spelling out the reason I thought they were applicable to our jejune relationship. A real romantic I was.
As I’ve aged, I’ve never stopped looking to music to help me understand the way I feel about the world. And it’s not just the basic “I really love you” or “Why don’t you love me anymore you big dumb dumb” songs on the radio I seek out. Music has helped me keep hope when I had little, gave me fight when the world was kicking my butt, and music has helped me deal with the death of loved ones. Next to reading books, listening to music has been my go to source for figuring out life. And during the past 10 years the music of Iron & Wine aka Sam Beam has been a large part of the discovery.
This past weekend Deana and I had the privilege of seeing him perform some new music with Jesca Hoop in DC at The Lincoln Theater (an extremely cool venue). This was my third time seeing him perform, but it was the first for Deana and our first time together. That’s significant for a few reasons. One, the night served as an early anniversary gift to each other. And two, because his song Naked As We Came was very nearly our wedding song so it’s kind of serendipitous that he showed up in DC for us to see during this time of year.
I can remember hearing Naked As We Came for the first time and being dumbstruck at how true and relevant the lyrics were to me. At the time I had nobody special in my life and the lyrics caused a great deal of mixed emotion. In one sense I’d felt the emptiness of not knowing the type of love he was describing but in another sense I felt happy knowing that whatever feelings he experienced to inspire that song’s creation had to be real because the song couldn’t exist without them. He talks about the pure contentment one feels simply living life in the presence of the person he loves. He sings of soaking in the small moments of life while they’re here because one day “one of us will die inside these arms”. But that’s okay and nothing to dread because every moment leading up to that point is a blessing when you get to spend it with someone who makes you whole.
I wanted that kind of love in the worst way and even though I wasn’t sure it existed for me his words gave me hope that I could find it if I just had patience. And when I finally found Deana the lyrics of that song were no longer a metaphor but something I knew I could live and make real with her by my side.
Ultimately, we didn’t pick Naked As We Came to dance to because I decided maybe it would be nice if I could take a break from being morbid on our wedding day and not think about dying. But in my mind this will always be our song and it fills me to the brim knowing I get to live this life with her by my side. Deana makes me whole, she makes me try, she makes me care, and it soothes my soul to know that while our bodies will give out on us one day the love and memories we make until then will go on forever.