Sara Groves and us

Our friend Carolyn (left) with Sara (center) and Jen at one of Sara's concerts that Jen organized in 2004

One of the first places of commonality that Jen and I found was in music. We were both passionate about it and managed to talk for a couple hours on the topic during our first date. It was an amazing thing for me to find someone that shared — so closely — my taste in music. Jen’s favorite artist at that time, and probably still now, was Sara Groves. I was fairly ignorant of anything that Sara had done, but gave it a listen. Since that point her music has been a place of connection for Jen and I. Whether we’re working through a disagreement or dealing with something particularly hard, there always seems to be a Sara Groves song to sooth our souls.

Sara writes beautiful music, but as with all great music it’s the lyrics that have hit me. A common topic in her music is marriage. I think that it is these songs about the marriage relationship that have been the most meaningful for me. She has this one song “Roll to the Middle” off her “The Other Side of Something” album that I think defines marriage to me. Ironically the song is about fighting and Jen and I don’t really fight, but it’s the concepts on display in the song that make it so powerful.

We just had a World War III here in our kitchen
We both thought the meanest things
And then we both said them
We shot at each other till we lost ammunition

This is how I know our love
This is when I feel it’s power
Here in the absence of it
This is my darkest hour
When both of us are hunkered down
And waiting for the truce

All the complicated wars
They end pretty simple
Here when the lights go down
We roll to the middle

No matter how my pride resists
No matter how this wall feels true
No matter how I can’t be sure
That you’re gonna roll in too
No matter what, no matter what
I’m going to reach for you

It probably says something about me that I find the truth of love in a negative boundary like this, but there’s something about the lines:

This is how I know our love
This is when I feel it’s power
Here in the absence of it

And then the last lines, which ring immensely true for me in our marriage:

No matter what, no matter what
I’m going to reach for you

All I need is to hear the opening chords of this song and I am reduced to a misty-eyed softy reflecting on the depth of my love for Jen.

When I lost my job last fall, we were both scared and unsure of what was happening. We had no idea what was going to be happening with us until — you guessed it — we found the Sara Groves song “From this One Place” off of “Fireflies and Songs” and particularly these lines:

from this one place I can’t see very far
in this one moment I’m square in the dark
these are the things I will trust in my heart
you can see something else

I know it sounds crazy, but that gave us both the comfort we needed to move forward. As it turns out God took care of us and we were fine until a new job was provided. Over and over it’s things like this, where we find ourselves in a difficult place and somehow one of Sara’s songs seemingly floats out of the ether and brings us comfort.

Sara has so many good songs and I’m not doing her justice here. I promise you that it’s worth your time (and money) to invest in Sara’s music. I’m sure that you’ll find comfort there.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out my favorite song by Sara. It’s called “To the Moon” off of “Add to the Beauty” (I would have linked to the song, but I can’t find a link – you’ll just have to buy the album 😉 ). I’ve always heard it as a piece of satire, which is one of my favorite genres of writing. But more importantly I think that it points out the inconsistencies of the church particularly here in the west.


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