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What Song Do You Hum to Yourself?

I want to go all over the world
And start living free
I know that there’s somebody who
Is waiting for me
I’ll build a boat, steady and true
As soon as it’s done
I’m going to sail along in the dreams
Of my dear someone
– Gillian Welch & David Rawlings, Dear Someone

There are bigger, more far-reaching songs on the classic album Time (The Revelator), but this one lingers in my head. It likely began with my interest in all things sailing and boats and travel. Or the lullaby rhythm of the song, which comes in handy when you have young children. I no longer have a boat of my own, having sold it off in relief several years ago. For that matter, I no longer have young children, as they begin their own adventures in places all over the world.

When you want to start living free, what exactly do you want to be free of? Work? Or the life you’ve built around yourself, sturdy and strong, that locks you into a place and time in your brief go on this planet? Are we shaking off commitments and relationships of proximity in favor of the freedom of travel, or are we running from something in ourselves? Or maybe we’re seeking something that we aren’t finding where we currently find ourselves? Fair questions to ask before you set out in your vessel of choice. But never forget that you have that agency.

A revelator is someone who reveals the will of God to the rest of us. We all decide what this God character is in our lives. We all have our stories about the world and our place in it. There is no better revelator than time, for it reveals within each of us the truth about who we are and where we want to go. Sometimes it reveals that what you’ve wanted most is what you’ve built around yourself. And that, maybe, what you’re seeking is already here.

Every day I wake up
Hummin’ a song
But I don’t need to run around
I just stay home
And sing a little love song
My love, to myself
If there’s something that you want to hear
You can sing it yourself

Gillian Welch & David Rawlings, Everything Is Free

The world will open up once again, should we ride out this time and meet it. And then what? What boats are we building? Where do you go from here? Time will surely reveal it all to us, but let’s always remember that we have a bit of a say in the matter too. Over time, if we’re lucky, we learn to listen to the songs we hum to ourselves.

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