Tag Archives: song

Never Enough

I don’t usually pick a musical as my first choice when headed to the movies. Being honest: more like last resort. But our family went to see The Greatest Showman recently, and WOW! The movie itself was stunning, captivating! The singing fantastic! And the values it presents are powerful, transformational – and true! Fidelity, the intrinsic worth of all people, imagination, and family all take center ring in this fun flick. I will say, however, that the movie, when compared to the actual history of P.T. Barnum, is mostly just fantasy. I guess that should come as no surprise, though. It’s just another (instant) classic Hollywood hoodwink.

But back to the music, written by the highly acclaimed Justin Paul & Benj Pasek. I liked every song, and added the soundtrack to my Spotify immediately.  I’ve been listening to the soundtrack on repeat for days now. One song in particular has captivated my attention. It’s the song Never Enough as beautifully sung by alto Loren Allred – who is not the same person as actress Rebecca Ferguson who portrayed singer Jenny Lind, aka Johanna Maria Lind the “Swedish Nightingale”. Again, historically speaking, the movie really does a huge disservice to the person of Jenny Lind. My research indicates she was a remarkable individual with humble beginnings, incredibly selfless and charitable, and a wonderful operatic soprano. I would love to have heard her sing! No doubt it was nothing short of amazing. Never Enough, as sung by Allred, is nothing close to operatic, but it is a moving, thought-provoking song. I’m not going to quote all the lyrics, but as I’ve listened repeatedly to this song, one line leapt above the rest.

“You set off a dream with me…”

It can happen. In an instant. Our words have power to ignite. As the head of my household and father of two great kids (now young adults), I know how a little vision casting can impact the trajectory of a life. As someone who’s made his fair share of mistakes, I also know that a few poorly/hastily chosen words can set off a “dream” that becomes a nightmare. Our words can be the spark to fires raging out of control.

In the movie (spoiler alert), P.T. Barnum sparks unrequited love in the heart of (this fictional version of) Jenny Lind. There’s no stopping it, no quenching it.

“Can you hear it echoing?
Take my hand
Will you share this with me?
‘Cause darling without you
All the shine of a thousand spotlights
All the stars we steal from the night sky
Will never be enough
Never be enough
Towers of gold are still too little
These hands could hold the world but it’ll
Never be enough…”

Never enough. Are there two more potentially dangerous words? Maybe. What if were two words that almost brought my life and family to ruin. They resulted in that never enough feeling taking me to the brink of death itself. In the movie, the result is scandal and financial ruin (almost).

Words can be so incredibly life-giving or life-taking. Don’t be mistaken. Sticks & stones are far less dangerous. This song, while beautiful, is so…hollow. Empty. Tragic. Poignant. Be careful who you set off, whose dreams you ignite. It might cost you everything.

Those who guard their lips preserve their lives,
    but those who speak rashly will come to ruin.”
Proverbs 13:3

I’m glad to know the actual Swedish Nightingale didn’t really experience what was portrayed by this movie. I tend to believe the songs she sang and the life she lived were more on the life-giving side. Considering how benevolent she was, that certainly seems to be the case. I hope the dreams she set off resulted in some incredible lives and legacies.


Losing my song

The Lord your God is in your midst,
    a mighty one who will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness;
    He will quiet you by his love;
He will exult over you with loud singing.”
Zephaniah 3:17

“I will sing to the LORD as long as I live;
I will sing praise to my God while I have being.
Psalm 104:33


It’s been my deepest form of expression since…as long as I can remember. And in fact, even when I was still developing, I’m told that I did flips  in my Mother’s womb when she would sing. I sing when I’m excited, when I’m joyful, when I’m down, when I’m feeling hopeless. I just about always have a song on my heart, and it directly corresponds with what I want to communicate with God. Song is, you might even say, my prayer language.

Not that I don’t ever pray. I am in prayer all day long. And I journal a good bit too, though not as much as I’d like. But song is where me & Jesus just seem to communicate with each other most, and most intimately.

But this summer, I found myself in a real physical struggle to swallow anything that was not in liquid form. Because of this, I was referred to a Gastroenterologist who ran some tests and told me I have two different issues going on with my esophagus and then set me on path to correct those problems. And, pretty quickly things started getting better! What a relief to be able to sit down for a meal without fear of choking!

But something else happened. My voice changed. Quite rapidly, I started noticing difficulty hitting the high notes I was quite accustomed to singing without trouble. Then, it went from being difficult to impossible. And then I lost pitch control. Within a short time, I pretty much lost my singing voice. I mean, I have some ability to sing in a medium-ish range. But with the pitch control problems, it’s just not enjoyable to sing at all. In fact, it’s painful. Physically painful, but even more so, emotionally painful.

I feel as though I’m losing my way. Losing my voice. Losing my identity. Losing my song.

This must be a little like what Samson felt when he lost his strength and had his eyes gouged out. Personally, I’d rather have no strength and no sight than no voice, no song. Well, I’ve never really had any physical strength to speak of anyway, so maybe that’s not a great comparison.
I don’t know what it’s like to be able to pull 700 pound gates – frame, posts, and all – right out of the ground and carry them on my shoulders. But that was Samson’s gift. He must have felt so terribly isolated, abandoned, and alone when he lost that gift.

And now, I feel like I’ve lost my gift. And I wonder who cut my hair off. Okay, I’ve never had very long hair, but I wonder what I’ve done – or failed to do – that has brought this on.

Then a small voice inside of me says “maybe it’s just time to develop a new prayer language”.

So I find myself on a new journey. It hurts. I don’t like it. I just want my voice back. And maybe someday it will come back. But I know God has allowed this – even ordained it. So It will be okay. Even good. And I believe He will use it for good. He still loves me. He still desires me to seek Him earnestly and often.

I can learn a new song, even if I never sing again. I must. I will.

Why are you cast down, O my soul,
    and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
    my salvation and my God.
Psalm 43:5