On Opening Up

I’ve been thinking a lot about legacy over the past several days. Two weeks ago, a friend I’ve known since I was in the first grade passed away suddenly. Over the following days I watched the grief over Kappel’s death take shape both back home and here in Nashville through social media. It really was a huge blessing to see, and it made me proud to have known him. It has been an odd mix of sorrow and joy to read the stories of his life.

Probably the biggest thing that stuck out to me from all of the stories was how openly he lived his life. When he struggled with addiction and drug abuse for the years right after high school. We watched that struggle. When his life turned around in a miraculous way, we rejoiced in that. What made Kappel unique was that he allowed people into his life and he inserted himself into theirs, in a way that was genuine and loving, not dependent upon conditions or holding some perception of perfection. He just loved.

I think this hit me so hard because that is something I desperately long to do, but have such a hard time doing. Instead, I tend to put most of my effort into managing my reputation and making sure that people think what I want them to think about me. Instead of sharing struggles and challenges it’s easier to hide them. That leads to a very lonely place where no one truly knows you at all, where openness, honesty, and love become increasingly difficult. 

Until recently, this played out in my music as well. I was hesitant to truly dig into my struggles, and always left them veiled and vague. I think that’s what I loved so much about creating Prodigals & Thieves. I forced myself to lay it out there. And while much of it still falls within the realm of metaphor and story telling, I’ve begun to allow myself to struggle openly. And, in some ways, to rejoice openly. 

I’m convinced it’s a more exciting life, and way more interesting.

So thanks Kap, for reminding me what living openly looks like.