Rain & Wind

©Will Spicher 2008

January 21, 2008 (Martin Luther King Day)

if the clothes I wear don't go with yours
will you turn me out of your heart
respond with only isolation

and if the song I sing won't rhyme with yours
will you turn me out of the door
to stand alone and peer through the window

in the
falls down and changes how
I see
I see
and in the Rain I feel the

I walk alone under the autumn moon
driven by the Wind
to hear the song of the wilderness

the Wind sighs
the Rain falls
jackals mock
and wolves howl
the willow weeps
but the ancient owl
sings soft and low:

"freedom's more than nothing left to lose
it's a matter of the heart
and not all who wander are lost"

and some things
are forever mine
my decisions
my opinions
and I could hide
keep it all inside
and just agree

but are we
is this the Kingdom that
we seek
we seek
and is it the Love we long
to know
to be

so can we find a Love that isn't blind
and a Truth that comes from the heart
moving to the Music together

The Wind and Rain will blow away the wall
bring the Music to our ears
lift the veil and we'll see beauty

in all the the wonder that is
only the Truth can make us
to love
to live!

About the Song

I recently complained to someone about a rejection I had experienced.  She (a sibling who shall remain nameless) said, "When God closes one door, He opens another."  I was feeling the sting of the situation and could not bear to summarize it with such a "hasty" eight-word phrase (a streak of Entish, I suppose).  So I wrote a five-and-a-half-minute song instead (along with a novel of a web page to go with it).

Several years ago I read a book: Boundaries (Cloud and Townsend).  At the time I had no idea how much it would change my life.  Had I not read the book, I would perhaps be more comfortable, but I would certainly be less alive.  I have attached my favorite quotes below

I was not aware how much trouble I had making my own decisions about who I was and what I should do with the resources God has entrusted to me. I needed other people to tell me. Fortunately, God loved me too much to leave me the way I was. So He gave me some...growth opportunities. Rain & Wind is about the process of developing healthy boundaries and the wild ride this can give our lives.

I think The Church today is plagued with an epidemic of boundarylessness. We have a culture in which having limits is frowned upon and misunderstood. It is simply not OK to say no without being judged as having a poor heart attitude. Or, if we are too transparent, so that the cracks in our lives show through, we find ourselves shunned or marginalized. As Cloud and Townsend put it,

Many Christians fear that setting and keeping limits signals rebellion, or disobedience. In religious circles you'll often hear statements such as, "Your unwillingness to go along with our program shows an unresponsive heart."  Because of this myth, countless individuals remain trapped in endless activities of no genuine spiritual and emotional value.  The truth is life-changing: a lack of boundaries is often a sign of disobedience. People who have shaky limits are often compliant on the outside, but rebellious and resentful on the inside. They would like to be able to say no, but are afraid. So they cover up their fear with a half-hearted yes...

Those of us with approval-addiction people-pleasing tendencies must swim against the tide to develop healthy boundaries. In the course of doing so, we may find ourselves out in the rain, walking alone under the autumn moon. But if this occurs because we have been true to our God and ourselves, then, though we may wander, we are not lost. And even in the wilderness, we can occasionally breathe in all the wonder that is Real.

Those that will not accept our no may be in positions of power and may be able to bereave us of all that we hold dear in this life. But they cannot take our yes; only we can give it.  Yet whatever our loss, the Truth still has the power to make us free...to love...to live. And we may find that the Rain and Wind, whose discomfort we dreaded all along, were really our Friends leading us to better places...open doors.

Perhaps I am over-spiritualizing, and, in the end, I am just feeling the adolescent urge to get a few things off my chest. Whatever the case, it is art, and I hope you enjoy it.  There is a lot of symbolism in the song, but, rather than interpret it, I will let the listener find his or her own interpretation.  Like J.R.R. Tolkien, I like literature (and music) that is applicable (as opposed to allegorical).  So I try to write specifically enough to give expression to my feelings yet vaguely enough to let others find expression in it also.  Hopefully I am getting better at it.

About the Mix

I finally graduated.  I upgraded from PowerTracks, my entry-level DAW (digital audio workstation) to Sonar, a professional tool.  800 pages of manual later, I am beginning to get the hang of it.  View some screen shots:

overall view
mix console
building a composite vocal track
building a composite guitar track
console control group

I wonder how I ever got along without it before.  But deep down I know: the passion to make music drove me to do what I could with the tools I had, just as it does today.  And that, in itself, is something I enjoy about this strange hobby. Also, I am aware of the power-tools that some of you out there have. But stay tuned: I am still growing.

By the way, I still highly recommend PowerTracks as a great value (at $49) for anyone with less than $200 for a DAW. 

About the Guitars

WARNING: This section is known to produce ISR (involuntary sleep response) in non-geeks!

Rain & Wind is a Guitarsenal song.  For the first time in WillSongs' history, the T5 appears together with the RG1570.  They are also joined by the 414 for rhythmic ambience and fingerstyle backing.  The Jazz Bass Plus V pounds out the foundation.  No organs or synthesizers--just guitars.  The song was basically written on the T5, though its contribution is seldom out front.  Its influence was subtle but powerful, constantly defining the feel and mood of the song.  I strum chords on the verses, pick arpeggios in the choruses, and switch to fingerstyle in parts of the bridge. 

But the star of this show turned out to be the RG1570.  I made a major tone breakthrough with Mission Control.  You see, four preamp models are available for the tube: Warm Clean, Bright Clean, Dirty Tube, and Saturated Tube.  But the gold I was digging for was somewhere between the Bright Clean and Dirty Tube settings; Bright Clean was a little too clean, and Dirty Tube was a little too dirty, regardless of the gain settings.  But after having this thing for eight years, I finally had an epiphany: The signal is still analog by the time it gets to the tube, so any boost I give it should still act like basic tube overdrive (analog distortion).  Since the preamp is preceded by the compressor, I turned it on and tried adjusting its output, which feeds the tube's input, and found I could boost it by as much as 20 db.  Right at +18 db, I found the Holy Grail: the golden tone! 

About the Drums

Another component that desperately needed an ear-lift was the drums.  The Roland Virtual Sound Canvas has done an admirable job for three years. But it always sounds the same. Each drum makes basically the same sound but at a varying volume.  And the toms are so tonal that they sound melodramatic.  Enter Battery 3 by Native Instruments. The Pop Kit defines 50 "cells" (notes) with a dozen velocity-stacked samples each.  The snare has 15 cells to represent all the different ways of hitting it, and the hi-hat has 9 cells with six levels of pedal position. And that makes for a lot of expressiveness with just two pieces.  Now my only challenge is programming. The only thing I really know about drum patterns is that a drummer only has two hands and two feet!

Jesus said, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."   John 8:31-32

Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.   Ps 51:6

He Then we will no longer be infants... Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.     Eph 4:14-16

Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth?     Gal 4:16

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear.    1 John 4:18

Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.  2 Cor 3:17

Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for that is how their fathers treated the false prophets.   Luke 6:26

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.   James 1:2-4

Great quotes from Boundaries

Boundaries are about Love:

So don't boundaries turn us from other-centeredness to self-centeredness? The answer is no. Appropriate boundaries actually increase our ability to care about others. People with highly developed limits are the most caring people on earth. (p103)

In short, boundaries are not walls.  The Bible does not say that we are to be "walled off" from others; in fact, it says that we are to be "one" with them (John 17:11).  We are to be in community with them. But in every community, all members have their own space and property. (p32)

And when we find relationships in which we have freedom to set limits, something wonderful happens. In addition to the freedom to say no, we find the freedom to say a wholehearted, unconflicted, gratitude-driven yes to others. We become attracted to boundary-lovers, because in them, we find permission to be honest, authentic, loving individuals. (p273)

A good supportive relationship cherishes the no of all parties involved. The members know that true intimacy is only built around the freedom to disagree: "He who conceals his hatred has lying lips" (Prov. 10:18). Begin practicing your no with people who will honor it and love you for it. (p278)

You will be amazed how much can change in your life when you finally begin to let go of what you can never have. All of your attempts to preserve the old life were taking a lot of energy and opening you up to a lot of abuse and control. Letting go is the way to serenity. Grief is the path. (p256)

Boundaries are about Truth:

There is always safety in the truth, whether it be knowing God's truth or knowing the truth about yourself.  Many people live scattered and tumultuous lives trying to live outside of their own boundaries, not accepting and expressing the truth of who they are.  Honesty about who you are gives you the biblical value of integrity, or oneness. (p35)

In these instances, because of unexpressed boundaries, the relationships suffered. An important thing to remember about boundaries is that they exist, and they will affect us, whether or not we communicate them. (p101)

When you count the cost of the consequences [from expressing boundaries], as difficult or as costly as they seem, they hardly compare to the loss of your "very self." (p248)

Boundaries are a "litmus test" for the quality of our relationships. Those people in our lives who can respect our boundaries will love our wills, our opinions, our separateness. Those who can't respect our boundaries are telling us that they don't love our no.  They only love our yes, our compliance... Setting limits has to do with telling the truth. (p108)

The most basic boundary word is no. It lets others know that you exist apart from them and that you are in control of you.  Being clear about your no—and your yes—is a theme that runs throughout the Bible. (p34)

Boundaries are about Freedom:

If we love and respect people who tell us no, they will love and respect our no. Freedom begets freedom. If we are walking in the Spirit, we give people the freedom to make their own choices. (p90)

Setting boundaries and being more independent is scary because it is a step into the unknown...Change is frightening.  It may comfort you to know that if you are afraid, you are possibly on the right road—the road to change and growth. (p258)

People tend to look outside of themselves for the problem. This external perspective keeps you a victim. It says that you can never be okay until someone else changes. This is the essence of powerless blame. It may make you morally superior to that person (in your own thinking, never in reality), but it will never fix the problem. Face squarely the resistance to looking at yourself as the one who has to change. (p264)

Many Christians fear that setting and keeping limits signals rebellion, or disobedience. In religious circles you'll often hear statements such as, "Your unwillingness to go along with our program shows an unresponsive heart."  Because of this myth, countless individuals remain trapped in endless activities of no genuine spiritual and emotional value.  The truth is life-changing: a lack of boundaries is often a sign of disobedience. People who have shaky limits are often compliant on the outside, but rebellious and resentful on the inside. They would like to be able to say no, but are afraid. So they cover up their fear with a half-hearted yes...  (p105)

This principle is at the heart of this yardstick: our no becomes as free as our yes. In other words, when you are as free to say no to a request as you are to say yes, you are well on the way to boundary maturity. There's no conflict, no second thoughts, no hesitation in using either word. (p283)

The ultimate goal of learning boundaries is to free us up to protect, nurture, and develop the lives God has given us stewardship over. Setting boundaries is mature, proactive, initiative-taking. It's being in control of our lives. (p285)

Production Notes

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published 21-Jan-2008 (Martin Luther King Day)
updated 21-Jan-2008