Loss and Gain

Seasons in life are rarely solely about what you think they’re about.

Last August, I had just gotten through my first year of being totally self-employed after eleven years at a salaried job. I left that job to pour my time and effort into the music I create with my husband. When I surrendered my old career, though, I lost a lot more than my salary.

I lost part of my identity as a teacher.

I lost the confidence of knowing how to do my job.

I lost the familiarity of routine.

I lost daily human interaction. 

I lost coworkers to laugh and commiserate with. 

Later that year, I lost harmony with my best friend.

I lost my perception of reality surrounding my family. 

I lost the ability to process all of these changes and stresses myself.

I lost the illusion of success.

I lost my hustle. 

I lost the bubbly parts of my personality.

I lost the feelings of excitement and joy.

I lost the will to get out of bed some mornings. 

When God wants to rebuild your heart, he doesn’t just focus on one part. This renovation went after much more than new paint colors and carpet. It stripped me down to the studs. 

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Arthur Alligood: Portage, Vol. 1

 

My first introduction to Arthur Alligood’s work was his stripped-down acoustic album The Shadow Can’t Have Me. The honesty in his lyrics struck me, and I looked forward to his new project with anticipation. Portage, Vol. 1: At the Edge of the World offers more of his lyrical depth with a new musical approach, setting aside the acoustic guitar as the primary instrument and instead moving the songs through a forest of synths, piano sounds, and drum beats.

The EP kicks off with a dreamy soundscape on “Foolishness of Man.” It calls forth the moodiness of quieter Springsteen songs in a way that prepares the heart for lament but simultaneously comforts with a familiar tone. The use of the title as a refrain ending each verse emphasizes the plaintive lament about our culture’s tendency toward judgmental attitudes and actions. The Portage project name comes from the ending lyrics, “I stand here on the shoreline / I will take the portage path / ‘Cause only love will end this hatred: the foolishness of man.”

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