Track 11 – I Will Find A Way

By

This is a song I worked on for about six years before I brought it to Andy Gullahorn who helped me finish it. It wouldn’t be the song that it is without him. He and Jill Phillips recorded it for their Christmas record and I hope you’ll check it out if you haven’t already. You can get it in the Rabbit Room store.

Of all the songs that I’ve ever been a part of, this is my favorite. It was inspired by “An Advent Monologue” written by Rabbit Room favorite, Walt Wangerin Jr. It’s one of the most beautiful meditations on the incarnation that I’ve ever read and you can read it below.

An Advent Monologue by Walter Wangerin Jr.

I love a child.

But she is afraid of me.

I want to help this child, so terribly in need of help. For she is hungry; her cheeks are sunken to the bone; but she knows little of food, less of nutrition. I know both these things. She is cold, and she is dirty; she lives at the end of a tattered hallway, three flights up in a tenement whose landlord long forgot the human bodies huddled in that place. But I know how to build a fire; and I know how to wash a face.

She is retarded, if the truth be told, thick in her tongue, slow in her mind, yet aware of her infirmity and embarrassed by it. But here am I, well-traveled throughout the universe, and wise, and willing to share my wisdom.

She is lonely all the day long. She sits in a chair with her back to the door, her knees tucked tight against her breasts, her arms around these, her head down. And I can see how her hair hangs to her ankles; but I cannot see her face. She’s hiding. If I could but see her face and kiss it, why I could draw the loneliness out of her.

She sings a sort of song to pass the time, a childish melody, though she is a woman in her body by its shape, a swelling at her belly. She sings, “Puss, puss.” I know the truth, that she is singing of no cat at all, but of her face, sadly, calling it ugly. And I know the truth, that she is right. But I am mightily persuasive myself, and I could make it lovely by my love alone.

I love the child.

But she is afraid of me.

 

~

 

Then how can I come to her, to feed and to heal her by my love? Knock on the door? Enter the common way?

No. She holds her breath at a gentle tap, pretending that she is not home; she feels unworthy of polite society. And loud, imperious bangings would only send her into shivering tears, for police and bill collectors have troubled her in the past.

And should I break down the door? Or should I show my face at the window? Oh, what terrors I’d cause then. These have happened before. She’s suffered the rapings of kindless men, and therefore she hangs her head, and therefore she sings, “Puss.”

I am none of these, to be sure. But if I came the way that they have come, she would not know me different. She would not receive my love, but might likely die of a failed heart.

I’ve called from the hall. I’ve sung her name through cracks in the plaster. But I have a bright trumpet of a voice, and she covers her ears and weeps. She thinks each word an accusation.

I could, of course, ignore the doors and walls and windows, simply appearing before her as I am. I have that capability. But she hasn’t the strength to see it and would die. She is, you see, her own deepest hiding place, and fear and death are the truest doors against me.

Then what is left? How can I come to my beloved? Where’s the entrance that will not frighten nor kill her? By what door can love arrive after all, truly to nurture her, to take the loneliness away, to make her beautiful, as lovely as my moon at night, my sun come morning?

 

~

 

I know what I will do.

I’ll make the woman herself my door-and by her body enter in her life.

Ah, I like that. I like that. However could she be afraid of her own flesh, of something lowly underneath her ribs?

I’ll be the baby waking in her womb. Hush: she’ll have the time, this way, to know my coming first before I come. Hush: time to get ready, to touch her tummy, touching the promise alone, as it were. When she hangs her head, she shall be looking at me, thinking of me, loving me while I gather in the deepest place of her being. It is an excellent plan! Hush.

And then, when I come, my voice shall be so dear to her. It shall call the tenderness out of her soul and loveliness into her face. And when I take milk at her breast, she’ll sigh and sing another song, a sweet Magnificat, for she shall feel important then, and worthy, seeing that another life depends on hers. My need shall make her rich!

Then what of her loneliness? Gone. Gone in the bond between us, though I shall not have said a word yet. And for my sake she shall wash her face, for she shall have a reason then.

And the sins that she suffered, the hurts at the hands of men, shall be transfigured by my being: I make good come out of evil; I am the good come out of evil.

I am her Lord, who loves this woman.

And for a while I’ll let her mother me. But then I’ll grow. And I will take my trumpet voice again, which once would kill her. And I’ll take her, too, into my arms. And out of that little room, that filthy tenement, I’ll bear my mother, my child, alive forever.

I love a child.

But she will not fear me for long, now.

Look! Look, it is almost happening. I am doing a new thing- and don’t you perceive it? I am coming among you, a baby.

And my name shall be Emmanuel.

Ragman: And Other Cries of Faith (1987) © Walter Wangerin Jr.

 

I Will Find A Way
(Jason Gray / Andy Gullahorn)

At the end of this run down tenement hall
Is the room of a girl I know
She cowers behind all the dead bolt locks
Afraid of the outside world

So how should I come to the one I love?
I will find a way

Many thieves and collectors have used that door
But they only brought her shame
So she won’t even open it anymore
Still I will find a way

I could call out her name with love through the walls
But condemnation is all she hears
I could bust down the door and take her into my arms
But she might die from the fear

So how should I come to the one I love?
I will find a way, I will find a way
How should I come to the one I love?
I will find a way

No hiding place ever kept her safe
So she hides inside herself
Now to reach her heart the only way
Is to hide in there as well
I will hide in there as well

She gave up on love waiting for a change
But a change is coming soon
Cause how could she not love the helpless babe
Who is waking in her womb?

I found way, I found a way…

She’ll know I am coming before I am here
When she hangs her head she’ll see me there
And then when I come she won’t run away
All the beauty and joy will return to her face
And what of the loneliness? Now it is gone
Lost in the bond of a mother and son
Every sin that she suffered at the hands of men
Every single disgrace will be washed clean again
I will love her completely and when I am grown
I will carry her out of that tenement room
I am doing a new thing and soon you will see
I am coming among you and my name shall be
Emmanuel, Emmanuel

 


13 Comments

  1. Paula Shaw

    I’m really sad because I pre-ordered this album, but I cannot find the proof that I bought it, nor was I able to download it early. 🙁 Even if I have to re-order it, I’m going to get it! I have a very high respect for Jason and the music he writes. Thank you, Jason, for all of it!

  2. Sofia

    Thanks so much to Jason and those of you at the Rabbit Room responsible for this listening party. I’ve really enjoyed the songs–but have especially liked being able to read through Jason’s thoughts about each thought. Adds even more depth of meaning to already lyrically rich songs. Thanks again!

  3. Laura Peterson

    Just read the Advent Monologue, finally. So, so beautiful. Wow. I’m so happy this song made it onto this record! Jason, what you wrote earlier about “Without Running Away”–that you didn’t necessarily understand every line as it came–made me think of the first time I remember hearing this song. It wasn’t like reading a poem or another song lyric and analyzing it out line by line in my head. I really felt a part of this great narrative. I remember feeling a growing concern each time the question “How should I come to the one I love?” was posed, and real, deep gladness at the last verse. Of course He found a way! I should have known! Hearing about God’s rescue and provision over and over again, it can be easy for me to brush past those truths and not let them in, but this made it fresh for me. Thanks to Walt, you, and Andy for such a beautiful story and song.

  4. Mark Geil

    What a wonderful experience this has been. A bit like sitting down with Jason and chatting about each of these extraordinary songs. I’ve gained insights that have helped me understand certain moments in some of the songs, read some stirring quotes, and even got all excited when Jason mentioned a few things that I think I got right in the review I wrote a week ago (little affirmations can really help a fledgling music critic!). Thanks so much to Pete, Jason, and the RR for all the effort.

    I love this album, and I’m finding I love it more with each listen – a rare quality. This is the song that slayed me the first time and still slays me. It was an “experience” song for me the first time I listened, an experience I will treasure. I was moved with compassion, then confused (Is she Mary? Is she Israel? Is she me?), and, finally, overwhelmed. I had not read the Wangerin source material before, and I’m glad, because I could not have encountered this beautiful song the same way. And my goodness, isn’t Wangerin’s writing voice so unique? Intimate and warm and unnerving, all at once.

  5. Tenika Dye

    I think I first heard this on the Behold the Lamb of God tour and I can’t remember if you sang it or Andy but I’ve loved it since then! When Jill’s and Andy’s Christmas CD came out this song was the one I bragged on SO MUCH. So nice to hear your version of it. I still get misty-eyed when I hear it.

  6. Marsha Panola

    Jason,

    This song reminds me of the story of Hagar found in Genesis 16. I’ve always loved it because of the immediate connection she seems to have with the God who obviously understands her hungry heart and knows the most loving way to approach her. Of course, the story of Hagar involves a very direct encounter with God, but there is a rather similar way that God handles her wounded heart and life. She, too, is carrying a baby, and God names him “God hears”, which I think is such a kind, healing thing to do, considering that she had been violated at the most intimate place, being used to produce a child for someone else’s purposes. I like to think that for the rest of her pregnancy, every kick, every movement of that baby was a reminder to her that “God hears” deep down inside her, even her own heartbeat. And she responds by giving God a special name, “You are the God who sees me” (or “the Living One who sees me”).

    God’s heart is beautiful, isn’t it? And his tenderness to each of us is beyond comprehension.

    Thanks, Jason, for your lovely music. What a blessing you are.

  7. Miriam

    A humble question. Why use rape as a part of her story if this is supposed to be about the coming of Emmanuel?

  8. Miss Linda

    I can’t answer for sure because I didn’t write it, so I can’t know for sure what someone else was thinking. But based on the story and how I understand the song, this isn’t just a retelling of the nativity and the “Christmas story” as we are used to hearing it. Obviously the Holy Spirit’s work in Mary was pure and holy, and rape had nothing to do with it.

    But if you look at it as the larger human story, where this girl isn’t Mary alone, but all of us, it makes more sense. If this girl is all of us, humanity itself, then including the tragedy of rape not only makes sense, it might be necessary. Because of our sin, we are all both victims and perpetrators and the damage we do to ourselves and to each other is very real. It can’t be glossed over or hidden or denied, because a holy God cannot ignore it. The reality of evil has to be faced and dealt with somehow. This girl is not smart, not beautiful, not worthy, not even innocent, and she knows it. That is why she is afraid. She fears evil men because they have harmed her, but she fears a good God even more. She hears condemnation when He speaks because she knows she is unworthy.

    And yet, in His great love, He still found a way!

    I love this section- “And the sins that she suffered, the hurts at the hands of men, shall be transfigured by my being: I make good come out of evil; I am the good come out of evil.” Even the worst results of sin, He is able to redeem. And that also means that even the worst of sinners can be redeemed! This isn’t just something He does, it is part of who He is, and no amount of evil is too big for Him to transform. When He is finished (and He isn’t finished yet, this is something He is still doing now), even the worst of the evils this world has known will be forced to serve good, because a Good God is at work.

    I’m not sure I’m saying this clearly enough to be any help at all. But at least in my mind, if the story is about humanity, we need the horrible things to be included or the story loses its power. If God can only work in the easy parts of our lives, or the parts that make sense to us, then He isn’t strong enough to save us. I need a God who can redeem and transform the worst things, whether they were done to me or things I have done. Just like this story reflects, we have a God like that. He found a way to reach us. Not only is He able to forgive, His is able to actually CHANGE us. Beautiful!

If you have a Rabbit Room account, log in here to comment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *