Track 6 – Without Running Away


This may be the most personal song I’ve ever written. I wrote it in much same way I wrote “The Golden Boy & The Prodigal” from my last record, giving heed to Leonard Cohen who once talked about how the Lord told the ancient Hebrews to build altars of unhewn stone–stones untouched by craftsman, rough around the edges. So this is an example in which I just sat down and consciously tried to resist my tendency to “over-craft” a song, trying instead to simply receive it, letting it come on its own terms.

That all sounds kind of mystical and romantic, and I suppose when it works it kind of is. But in truth, many of the songs I’ve tried to write this way aren’t very good.  Every once in a while, a song like this or like “The Golden Boy” comes out of the process and I’m grateful.

I can’t say I necessarily understood every line as it came, but I trusted. Understanding emerged after the fact in a way that feels really cool and humbling. It’s a gift to be surprised by your own work.

This song is a snapshot of a moment, written in the early morning hours after a long, sleepless night after a very bad day. As the dawn broke and the early morning sunlight crept into my little writing space, I wrote the last verse.  All told, I wrote the song in about half an hour.

The bridge was inspired by Frederick Buechner’s hopeful reflections on depression in his sacred lexicon Beyond Words. You can read that here.

Without Running Away
(Jason Gray)

I’ve spent some days looking
For a length of rope
And a place to hang it
From the end of my hope
But where I thought hope had ended
I always find a little bit more

It’s not like I’m trying
To be optimistic
If the truth be told
I’d rather dismiss it
And be free of the burden
Of the living that hoping requires

To bring my heart
To every day
And to run the risk of fearlessly loving
Without running away

Jesus is speaking
But it’s so hard to hear
When disciples with swords
Are cutting off ears
Broken and bleeding
I’m waiting for healing to come

But wounded is a part
I’ve learned to play well
Though the wound may run deeper
Than I know how to tell
Where pain’s an addiction
That keeps me buried alive
But when it’s all that I know
I’m afraid to leave it behind

And bring my heart
To every day
And run the risk of fearlessly loving
Without running away

My heart is not lifted up
My eyes are not lifted up
But calm and quiet is my soul
Like a babe with its mother is my soul

After awhile in the dark
Your eyes will adjust
In the shadows you’ll find
The hand you can trust
And the still small voice
That calls like the rising sun

And bring your heart
To every day
Run the risk of fearlessly loving
Without running away


A Way To See In The Dark available on iTunes, and the Rabbit Room Store

Jason Gray is a recording artist with Centricity Records. His latest single, out now, is "When I Say Yes".