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Friday, September 6, 2013

Lean Into the Sorrow


Lean into the Sorrow

Last fall I was reading Sheryl Sandberg’s book “Lean In” on a plane.  I looked around my aisle at seats filled with business travelers and the majority of them were men.  As I read Sheryl’s thoughts on the fields dominated by men in positions of authority, I knew there was a field dominated by women: care giving.

Over 80% of caregivers are women.  We are wives, mothers, daughters and friends caring for our loved ones.  We are the great silent majority that keeps healthcare on track, even if that track is worse for wear. Sheryl reminds the reader that to get ahead we will have to lean in.  And we do.  We lean into the nurses station demanding medication be delivered, as it is already late.  We lean into the embrace that lifts a body from a bed into a wheelchair.  We lean into the wall when the tears become sobs as arms empty of their task.

We lean into sorrow. 

I was very inspired by Ms. Sandberg’s book.  Though I must admit quite a bit of that inspiration was attained through indignation.  Her description of a working mother’s professional life supported by a successful spouse with paid staff to care for the children is not the reality most women face.  We make many choices in this world and one of them is to love others greater than ourselves.  That is the role of the caregiver. 

The caregiver spends so much of his or her life wrapped deeply around the life of another.  When the object of that deep love and care is gone, life can seem so dark; yet we must go on.  It is a very hard thing to let go of the life you lost and row away.


I took my frustration and turned it into a song: "Lean In."  I wrote the lyric and melody, and my friends Ross Martin, Marsha Goodman-Wood and Jeff Jensen would arrange the music, sing and master the final recording.  They are amazing musicians and caregivers as well.  Here you can see art depicting caregivers as well as a recording of the song.  The sound quality is a little rough and you can hear some automobile-like noise in the background, but I like it as that reminds me of painting 73 Cents on Connecticut Ave in DC.  The video is a bit shaky at times, but so am I.



“Lean In”

The captain of my ship is sinking
Won’t make it to the dawn.
The captain of my ship is sinking
And yet I travel on.

I swore an oath to take this journey.
I said I’d serve but not obey.
The captain of my ship is sinking.
And yet I row away.

Lean in, Lean in.
I lean into the sorrow.
I lean into the pain.
I lean into tomorrow 
Life will never be the same.

We are your wives and mothers,
We are the shelter in the storm.
We were there while you were dying;
We were there when you were born.

Lean in, Lean in.
We lean into the sorrow.
We lean into the pain.
We lean into tomorrow 
Life will never be the same

Our mission acts as ballast
The children are our stays
We sail into the morning
As we row against the waves.

Lean in, Lean in.
I lean into the sorrow.
I lean into the pain.
I lean into tomorrow 
Life will never be the same.

Lean in, Lean in.
We lean into the sorrow.
We lean into the pain.
We lean into tomorrow 
Life will never be the same.

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