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Ask the Rock Doc:
Sound Advice for a Song
By psychologist, Dr. Bruce L. Thiessen, Ph.D.,
Aka Dr BLT

* Details contained in the original correspondence, or inquiry have been omitted or otherwise altered to protect the confidentiality of the inquiring party and to make key spiritual/psychological points. 

Dear Doc BLT:

I heard that you wrote a couple of songs about the victims of the recent Nashville flood.  Iím 21 and friends call me Debbie Dirt.  I live in Nashville and used to play lead guitar in a country punk band called Scorched Earth before I caught my right hand in some farm machinery.  My fingers just donít want to move the way I want them to anymore.   Since my accident, I have been angry, and I get jealous around musicians. 

When I hear about projects like yours and those of (excuse me) more famous country artists, I should be happy, but I resent you and others like you for being able to follow your dreams and to help others through the gift you have been given.  I call it a gift because I do believe in God.  I was brought up around that ďold time religion,Ē and was saved as a young child.  But I think God is cruel for allowing this to happen to me.  Instead of making me draw closer to him, its driven me and God further apart, so much to the point that Iím ready to file for a divine divorce.  Is it possible to divorce God?

I should feel for the victims of this flood, but Iím so busy feeling sorry for myself that I have no empathy left for anybody else.  Can you help?  I would like to hear a little sample of those two songs.  Yes I hate you for being a musician with both hands and all fingers, but I am hoping your songs recharge my empathy and compassion battery.  A little advice would sure help too.

Debbie ďDivine Divorce WannabeĒ Dirt

Dear Debbie:

Itís interesting that you call yourself ďdirt.Ē  Now, personally, I think dirtís gotten a bad rap over the years.  It can be hard, and stony, or it can be moist, pliable, and fertile.   Your heart is like that.  It was once fertile, but itís turned cold, hard and stony.  I canít take what is cold, hard and stony and bring it to life.  Only God can do that, and only a receptive heart can receive him.  But Iíll try to get you started in that direction.  Iíll start with these links, and if you like the audio samples, Iíll send you the entire songs.

Problems (In Nashville)
Words and music by Dr BLT copyright 2010

Washed Out in Nashville Tonight
Words and music by Dr BLT copyright 2010

What do you think, so far?  I hope these songs find a place in your heart.  Right now, it appears your heart has little if any room in it for music, but music has its way of finding a home in even the most unexpected of hearts.

God doesnít want a ďdivine divorce,Ē but heís not in the business of breaking and entering hearts.  Like in the story of the prodigal son, heís preparing a feast for you right now, as the dispirited daughter, Debbie.   Heís looking down the road every spare moment to see if thereís any sign of you on the road back home. 

You are not evil for being angry at God.  Anger, even at God, is a normal stage of the grieving process.  When youíre ready to move beyond the angry stage, on the road to acceptance of what God has permitted but not perpetuated in your life, he will be there with open arms to receive you.

You didnít mention how long youíve been angry.  I suspect that if you were in a country punk band before this happened, that you were angry then, and, if thatís the case, the accident is not the sole trigger for your anger.  Not to stereotype the punk music that occasional screams out of my own stereo speakers, but much of it, for better or worse, seems fueled by anger and angst. 

That doesnít make punk bad, it just makes it angry.  Iíd rather see a guitar in the hands of an angry man, or woman, than a gun.  Music can be a powerful outlet for any emotion, but was never intended to be the end of an emotional journey.  The journey ultimately leads to a state of contentment and inner joy, if not outer jubilation. 

I suspect that anger is robbing you of tender emotions like compassion.  It is robbing you of joy.  It is robbing you of forgiveness.  Dare I say that forgiving God (though he, by his very nature, cannot sin, and never sinned against you) will ultimately bring you unspeakable joy? 

It doesnít sound like youíve been successful in forgiving God on your own.  So, I would suggest that you seek professional help, the help of a psychologist (hopefully a Christ-centered one who is practiced in the art of divine reconciliation, and, perhaps a psychiatrist, for anger can also have neurological correlates.  Then surround yourselves with those who want to see you reconciled to God.   

As far as your music is concerned, it appears that youíre focused on limitations, and not upon whatís left that could be ďinstrumentalĒ (obvious pun intended).  Iíve seen street musicians playing drums, playing tambourines and strumming guitars with their feet.  Iíve seen musicians with missing and deformed fingers playing bongos with the palms of their hands. 

If the songs Iíve linked you to see my point of view (gratefully full-fingered fellow though I may be) Moon Shadow, by the man formerly known as Cat Stevens, likely will.  Find the song, and listen to it.  I mean really listen to it.  Really let it seep deeply into your soul.  Itís a song of acceptance, even in the face of unspeakable, abysmal physical loss.

Moon Shadow
Cat Stevens

I'm being followed by a moon shadow
moon shadow-moon shadow
leaping and hopping on a moon shadow
moon shadow-moon shadow
and if I ever lose my hands
lose my plough, lose my land
oh, if I ever lose my hands
oh, well...
I wonít have to work no more
and if I ever lose my eyes
If my colours all run dry
yes, if I ever lose my eyes
oh well Ö
I won't have to cry no more.
yes, I'm being followed by a moon shadow
moon shadow - moon shadow
leaping and hopping on a moon shadow
moon shadow - moon shadow
and if I ever lose my legs
I won't moan and I won't beg
oh if I ever lose my legs
oh well...
I won't have to walk no more
And if I ever lose my mouth
all my teeth, north and south
yes, if I ever lose my mouth
oh well...
I won't have to talk...
Did it take long to find me
I ask the faithful light
Ooh did it take long to find me
And are you going to stay the night
I'm being followed by a moon shadow
moon shadow - moon shadow
leaping and hopping on a moon shadow
moon shadow - moon shadow
moon shadow - moon shadow
moon shadow - moon shadow

By the way, Iím sorry for your loss, I really am.     

If youíre a musician in distress, or a friend or family member of one, please email me, Dr BLT.  http://www.drblt.net

Copyright © 1996 - 2010 The Phantom Tollbooth