“You’ve Got A Friend” – James Taylor

The story of this one is good. But you must know that this is the one. The one that Lucas could not listen to. My love for James Taylor was in full display from the very first day we met. So no matter what he says about my music choices, he knew this was part of the package. For the story…

One of the hardest things to make sense of in my life today is when the things that I have always been told would fit one way actually feel most natural to me in others paths. Be it in music or exercise or relationships or even emotions. I’ve always had a list of the ones that I needed to actively avoid “dwelling” on. When I started peeling back the layers of that discomfort, I found reminders through my life of times that “normal” for many didn’t work for me. And that included this song.

I was one of the first of my friends to marry. I had not been to many weddings, but I had seen enough to watch the whole first dance, father/daughter, mom/son…all the dances. I didn’t want it. I begrudgingly did the first dance. Which really amounted to me being awkward and Lucas still hating to dance. But, we danced. We did not dance to James Taylor.

My dad and I, however, were big fans of the storytelling music man. I went with Dad to see James Taylor in concert in the summer of 1994 when I worked for him. He was entertaining clients and I thought it was the most sophisticated and fancy fun. I can literally see the outfit I wore that night. One of our favorites was this song. In the discussion of first dances, Dad and I laughed about our inability to listen to the sappy songs, but IF we were to dance to a song, it would have been this one. And I smile every time I hear it.

The message of the song is the lesson of the year. How many 22 year old women would want to dance to a song about friendship with their dad? Me. Because, especially in that season, my dad was the most dependable friend I had. In the best way possible, because I had great friends. But the security of Dad’s friendship meant something different. In that season of my life, I needed that dependability. This song is a gentle reminder that I have always found what I needed in non-traditional places. The welcome acceptance of this has freed me to look for hope and creativity and love and even friendship in new places. Places that perhaps have not been given a label that seems to fit, but will fit just perfectly for me.

That’s what James has for me with his 70’s swoon.

Lean into the things your insides cry for, even if it means relabeling the expectation. And don’t be surprised if when you are listening, you hear a familiar acoustic guitar to soothe your soul.

Lucas, you are missing out, my friend.

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