Throughout the making of Tanya Godsey's album, "Love Lines The Last Horizon," (Tanya and I referenced a certain film again and again. "The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty," (we referenced the Ben Stiller version, though I saw Danny Kaye's version as a kid) is the story of a man who is outwardly reticent and introverted, but inwardly lives a life of adventure. He works as a negative assets manager at Life magazine, most notably archiving the work of a photographer named Sean O'Connell. When Walter misplaces a negative of what O'Connell regards as his finest photo, he finds himself thrust into a real adventure, following O'Connell into the path of an active volcano, onto a ship tossed at sea, and into the Himalayas in search of a snow leopard. In doing so, the negative assets manager, who has thus far only lived life in the negative space of his mind, archiving other people's stories and his own fantasies, comes to fulfill the mission of Life: "To see...things dangerous to come to, to draw closer, to see and be amazed and to feel."
It was an accident that we referenced this film so often. We referenced it because it has a great soundtrack, because it's visually striking, and because the trailer is marvelous to watch over and over. I'm not sure we recognized (maybe Tanya did) that it was our story. It was Tanya's, it was mine, and it was the story of the work we were doing together.
My pastor says that when you suffer you go places with God you would not have gone otherwise. The morning of our first day in the studio, Tanya awoke to the onset of a panic attack. Not hers; her husband's. This would set the tone for the season we spent making this album. Tanya's life was in upheaval. I didn't know what was going on at home, but I knew from Tanya's countenance that she was in pain. This is not the first time I've made music with someone whose life was falling apart. I'll tell you what I know about it: the music you make in those seasons is painful to come by, but singular in its beauty. It's like the snow leopard you climb a mountain and wait in the cold for, hiding, holding stock-still to see. Tanya Godsey left her quiet street, braved her fears, and bore her anguish every day for months to bring "Love Lines The Last Horizon" into the world. And though it was born of pain, the music brims with joy and hope, wisdom and insight. There are flowers that only grow in the valley of the shadow. Tanya walked through that valley with God and she has brought back something rare for you and I to see.
Dear reader, let me encourage you to go and do likewise: bring the song of your pain into the world so that others can hear it with joy. Rachel called her son Ben Oni, "the son of my suffering"; Jacob renamed him Benjamin, "the son of my right hand." God will bring joy to the world and glory to himself out of your faithfulness and you will see things dangerous to come to, but marvelous to behold. You will draw closer, and you will see.
Also, let me add that some of us are born to go places with people who go places with God. We are the negative assets managers, cataloguing the magnificent things other people do, going on the long quest to bring their work into the light when it might otherwise have been lost. This is my work. I fail at it often, but I believe there's dignity in it and that God will reward it. If this is you, carry on. God sees you.
You can listen to Tanya's album here: tp://apple.co/299xpVF