Everyone has their favorite misheard lyric story. Personally, I'll never be able to top the moment I heard a friend as she was singing Elton John's "Tiny Dancer" and realized she was belting out "Hold me close, I'm tryin' to daaance... uhhhh." Seriously. But more recently, I've discovered something even more fun: misheard meaning. The more I listen to songs that I've known by heart since I was a kid, the more I realize I had absolutely no idea what I was even singing about. My favorite song growing up was always the Beach Boys' "Kokomo." I mean - what did I know about getting there fast and taking it slow? (Although I must admit that I'm just as confused now by Toto's "Africa," a current favorite.)
My mind was blown a few months ago when a friend and I were listening to Garth Brooks on a road trip, and the song "Papa Loved Mama" came on. We both noted that we weren't quite sure what was said in the second line of the chorus ("Mama was a looker/Lord, how she shined"), so I looked it up. [If you don't know the song, it's all about Papa - a truck driver - who comes home early and catches Mama cheating on him.] Reading through the rest of the lyrics, I looked up and said "Sara Beth, did you know that Papa killed Mama?" I expected her to laugh at me, but was surprised when she said "WHAT?" Neither of us, in our childhood ignorance, realized that Mama's in the graveyard and Papa's in the pen because he dun' killed Mama dead! (Crazily enough, we both had thought Mama died from some unknown reason while Papa ended up in the pen from drunk driving his truck into a motel... not realizing Mama was IN that motel room.)
So what does this have to do with this post's title, you ask? We'll get there. But for now, I charge you with this:
Think That You Might Be Wrong.
I took the picture above this past summer in New Orleans, and I go back to this thought often. I can't tell you how many times in my adult life that something has happened to rock my world, blow my mind, and completely change my views on something I truly thought I knew. And we aren't talking song lyrics, folks.
- I thought I knew how I felt about social issues like health insurance until I watched helplessly as a friend had to declare bankruptcy at 25 because even though she worked hard and had a full-time job, she couldn't afford insurance, got sick, and racked up medical bills in a matter of two weeks.
- I thought I knew how I felt about homosexuality until people I loved came out of the closet.
- I thought that if a person was a Christian, that meant they were immune to making bad decisions and giving into what they knew was wrong... until I truly understood what it means that no one is perfect.
- I thought I knew about God's love until I realized that I was only being told one person's view of it.
There are so many more, and I assume I'm not the only person learning these lessons that come with (welp) age and maturity. More than anything, what I do know is this: if we all "took a walk in someone else's shoes" every once in a while, the world would be a different place. We would realize that there is no black and white, and that the possibilities are endless for what could change the lives of you or your loved ones. Sometimes we're the bad guy. Sometimes there is no good guy. And most importantly I've learned that no matter what, and don't miss this -- No. Matter. What. -- God's greatest gift to the world was unconditional love. This is true of both His love for us, and also His charge to us to love one another. Not to judge one another. Not to belittle one another. Not to hurt, and certainly not to hate one another. [pullquote_left]When I have doubts, I always err on the side of love.[/pullquote_left]
There are tons of things, especially when it comes to God, that I don't think I'll ever know. But I do know that Jesus called us to love, so when I have doubts, I always err on the side of love.
One song ole Garth wrote that I never misunderstood was "We Shall Be Free."
Check out the lyrics here. This post wasn't about politics, though I'll admit that all of the fussin' and fightin' going on brings these thoughts to my mind more and more. I don't write any of this to sway opinion, but only to share my experience and what I've learned in this life. But I will tell you this - I'm publicly declaring myself a member of the "Garth Brooks Freedom Party." He's got my vote.