Story behind the song: "Why's It Gotta Be This Way?" 

 

True confession... I've been crying a lot lately. 

 

I won't get in to the details, at least not right now, but just prepare yourselves for some REALLY GOOD SONGS to come out of this time!  :-) 

 

And while I look forward to those happier moments on 'the other side' of this mountain, the truth is, I am in a hard season right now.  And I'm not being dramatic when I say, I have sat on the floor of my closet, in the dark, tears streaming down my face more times than I'd like to admit. 

 

These words, "Why? Why? WHY???"  have come tumbling out of my mouth.  "I didn't want this!"  I have sobbed.  And the question rises from the deepest place in my heart, "Why does it have to be this way?".  

 

Have YOU ever been in that place? 

Have you ever had a hard time understanding the "Why?".   

 

Upon further reflection, I've realized the real question I'm asking is, "DID IT HAVE to be this way?"  Because I'd like to believe that it did NOT have to be this way.  I wrestle with the concept of "Free Will" vs. "Destiny" or "God's Perfect Plan" for our lives.  Because when the 'shit hits the fan' it's hard for me to find God is in the midst of it.  Of course, AT THE END, I can clearly see God's hand - in the redemption of all things - but in the moment, in the middle, that is where it gets murky.  That is where it gets confusing.

 

And THAT is where I find myself right now. 

In the middle of the pain, asking this simple question, "Why's it gotta be this way?"

 

Unfortunately, I don't have any good answers right now. 

I wish I did. 

I wish this song could wrap it all up in a nice little bow.  I wish I could sing some simple lesson that helps it all make sense. But I don't have that. 

Here's what I do have...

Friends.

Amazing friends. 

Incredible, compassionate, wise, deep, brave, life-giving friends.

 

Friends who have been willing to walk beside me on this rocky journey.  Friends who have taken my phone call or returned a text message because they knew I needed them (and because they told me to 'call or text anytime day or night' and I took them up on that offer!).  Friends who have listened to me for hours upon hours as I unpack my feelings.  And friends who have mirrored back hard truths that I needed to see and reckon with. 

 

And let me tell you something... that is NO SMALL THING to have those kinds of friends! 

In fact, it might be the biggest thing we can possibly have, a TRUE friend. 

 

I love the quote by Teresa of Avila that says, "Christ has no body now but YOURS.  No hands, no feet on earth but YOURS."

 

Life is complex, hard and beautiful all wrapped up together. And we are offered the glorious opportunity to BE THERE for each other in the midst of it all.  

 

And so this song is dedicated to my friends.  (You know who you are!)  There will never be enough words in the universe to express my gratitude.  I love you.  

3 New Songs Released 

 

Not 1, not 2, but 3 THREE new songs just released!!! 

 

They say “necessity is the mother of invention” and I think that’s true.  You see,  I was only planning on releasing one at a time, but I was wrestling with which song I should share with you next and it was seriously stressing me out!  I had worked myself up into a tizzy thinking the next song had to be EVERYTHING.  It had to be the “hook” that gets you to come back for more.  It had to ‘different enough’ so you don’t think I’m a one trick pony.  And it had to be ‘enough of the same’ so you don’t think I’m schizophrenic in my musical styles.  But I don’t have one song that will encompass all that.  And that thought was creatively paralyzing me.

 

I needed to stop freaking out about it.  Then the thought occurred to me, why not release 3 and just give a little sampler of what these songs will feel/sound like?  So that’s what I decided to do!  And I stopped stressing.  But, I did have a couple of observations about this process and I feel compelled to share them:

 

A couple of observations…

 

1. I realized these songs are not a “flash in the pan” or the “latest & greatest” kind of pop tunes.  They are singer-songwriter-ey songs.  They are slow and deep and meaningful.   And if you like that, you’re gonna like them.  If you don’t like that, you probably won’t like them.  (Thank-you, Captain Obvious. J  But I need to say it out loud so I can stop trying to be something I’m not.). It’s ok if you don’t like them, you’re not my ‘someone’.  I am looking for someone, or a group of someone’s, who resonates with my music.  When I find them, and when they find me, it is glorious.

 

2. I started second guessing the “story behind the song” portion, thinking they were way too long.  And maybe they are?  But I really wanted to share all those details with you.  We might not ever get a chance to sit down over a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, so you might not ever get to hear these details.  Again, if you don’t want to read it, you don’t have to!  But, if you want to get to know me a little better, reading the stories behind the songs will give you some good insight into who I am.

 

3. My art has always been the place where I express my deepest self, the self I don’t let most people see.  But these songs and these stories take it to a whole new level.  I am (in the words of Brene Brown) already experiencing a “Vulnerability Hangover” and I haven’t even hit “Publish” on my website yet!  Of course, by the time you read this, I will have hit that button.  And do you want to know why?  Because I am not going to let fear stop me from doing what I love to do.  And it reminds me that there is a critical battle in all of our lives for us to actually “show up” and be who we are.  So I hope and pray that these songs & these stories unlock you in ways that inspire YOU to be brave and daily show up as your truest self.

 

I really do hope you like the tunes & the stories.

Enjoy!

Much much much love,

Kendall

Story behind the song: "Don't" 

It’s a simple song, but deeply profound. 

 

Have you ever wanted something so much, that you can't even talk about it because it starts stirring up feelings in you?  Feelings that won't be 'put back to sleep' easily if you wake them up?  Feelings that you are working so hard to 'get over' that it feels like a full-time (emotional) job just to make it through the day?  I'm talking about wanting something, or someone, so much that when it looks like it's not going to happen, when it's falling apart, when its breaking down, you go through a season of soul-searching depression and you start to question everything about your purpose and meaning in life?  Have you ever felt that way? 

 

Yeah, that's where this song came from. 

 

Allow me a short preface before I tell you the story behind this song... Here's what I love about art and what I've found to be true and consistent in all my songwriting: what is deeply personal is also deeply universal.  In other words, we all believe our deepest emotions are completely personal.  We think to ourselves, "I am the only one feeling this way.  No one else feels this way.  I am totally alone here."  But the truth is we are all feeling the exact same things, we just hide it from each other, for fear of being vulnerable. 

 

You see, as a songwriter, I'm always trying to connect with a larger audience.  I want to write songs that everyone can 'identify' with.  So, a few years ago, I spent a season writing songs that I thought encompassed a larger demographic.  It was an intellectual experiment and it backfired.  The songs fell flat.  No one really cared about them, including myself.  They lacked the 'je ne sais quoi' that made them special.  I would play them at a concert, and I thought they'd be everyone’s favorites, but people didn't ‘feel’ anything about them.

 

Then I wrote a song out of a deeply personal place.  I didn't try to craft it to make sure everyone who heard it could ‘insert themselves’ in it.  It was SO personal about MY deepest longings and hurts and losses and hopes... and guess what?  People loved it.  And more than just loving it, they identified with it.  They made it their own.  They would come up to me after the concert and say, "That song. Ugh. That song... that's MY song."  

 

That's when I realized, what is deeply personal is also deeply universal. 

 

The more honest I am, I am astounded by the mass amounts of people who give me feedback that they share the exact same sentiments.  Of course, our stories vary, and the details are wildly different, but the core emotions are the same.  I wish we could all peek behind the curtain of our hearts and see that we are more similar than we are different. 

 

All that to say, I have a very distinct and exacting POV from where I wrote this song, and I'll share that with you.  However, I would hate for MY story to replace YOUR story of why it speaks to you, IF it speaks to you.  Because it's highly likely that you DON’T have the same circumstances I was in, but it's also highly likely you DO have the same core emotions as me.  So while you hold on to your 'story behind the song'... here's my story behind the song:

 

You can read more details in my bio, but here’s the short version: I was signed to Capitol Records at 17 years old.  It was everything I had hoped for and imagined could happen in my life.  It was the definition of a ‘dream come true’!  But pretty quickly, that dream morphed into a living nightmare when at 21 years old I was dropped from the label.  I tried to gain interest from any other people in the music business, but no one wanted to touch me with a 10 foot pole.  For a season, I ended up going to a junior college to take some classes because I didn’t know what to do next with my life.  I felt so sad and confused and lost in the world.  I had peaked already but I was just barely old enough to legally buy a glass of champagne to toast my ‘retirement’.  It was a dark time.

 

I can't tell you the emotional rollercoaster it is to be an artist, putting your music out music in the world.  Songs that you've poured your heart and soul into, only to be criticized and rejected with one "listen" (or sometimes not even that!).  You start to feel like you don't belong.  You start to wonder, does anyone think what I have to offer is valuable?  

 

And then one day, I had a phone call with an A&R executive at a record label who was interested in signing me. He was so nice.  He was so complimentary.  He made me feel like I was important, and like I had something worthwhile to add to the world. 

 

When I hung up the phone, I was in a full spiral of intense emotions.  I was elated.  I was scared.  I was hopeful.  I was doubtful.  I was up.  I was down.  And all of this happened in in rapid fire and it took a total of about 5 minutes to cycle through.

 

Then I decided I needed to do something productive, that’s when I wrote the song “Don’t”.

 

I wanted to call this guy back and say, "Listen, don't get my hopes up!  Don't tell me things that I want to hear!  If this isn't going to end well for me, I'd rather hang up on you right now, cause I literally can't afford the emotional investment.  I've gone 'emotionally bankrupt' on this dream of mine.  I have put my whole heart in, and I've come up short.  And I have accepted my loss."  I wanted to tell him, "You think this is just a casual/get-to-know you conversation, but I am hanging on every word.  My heart is beyond vulnerable right now.  Whatever you say has the potential to make or break me."

 

Of course, I didn’t call him up and say all that!   Cause I didn’t want him to think I was CRAZY!  (Even though that’s how I felt.). But I did write a song exposing my feelings for all the world to hear, so maybe I’m even crazier then I think I am?! Haha.

 

Regardless, in the end, they did not want to sign me.  And I grieved that as best I could when it finally ended.  But what I was left with, after I hung up the phone that day, was a reckoning.  A reckoning with my own desires.  A reckoning with my own hopes.  (And yes, I'm stealing this 'reckoning' idea from Brene Brown - I am obsessed with her and I owe her tens of thousands of dollars in therapy hours she saved me through reading her books.) 

 

But I digress... 

In that conversation with the A&R guy, something had woken back up in me, something I was trying so hard to keep asleep.  When I was dropped from Capitol records it felt like the dream inside me died.  Or maybe a more accurate word picture is that my dream was on life-support in the ICU.  It was severely wounded and I was exhausted from holding out hope that it would ever come back to life.  You see, I loved my dream.  It is/was beautiful.  But the reality is, that it has not panned out the way I imagined it would.  And that is a hard truth to accept.  Especially for an idealist, like me.

 

My tendency here is to insert positive sentiments.  I like to spin everything into a little anecdote to make myself feel better.  To wrap it up in a pretty little package and put a bow on it.  I try to say something like, 'but God knew all along what was best for me, and TA-DA, now I've come to realize something so much better!' 

 

That's a 'classic-me' move.  Just ask my husband.  He gets really annoyed when I do that.  Because, the reality is, I don’t like to sit in the pain.  I don’t like to sit with sadness.  I like to move on and feel happy again, but some things need time to heal.  Some things need time to grieve.  And sometimes that “time” is a lifetime.

 

So I'm NOT gonna end it that way today.  I'm gonna be real.  And I'm gonna dare to trust that maybe what's deeply personal inside me right now is also deeply universal, and is inside you right now.  Maybe, right now, you love something but it hasn’t worked out the way you thought it would.  Maybe, right now, you love someone but the relationship has broken down, and you are still limping along and can’t shake the disappointment.

 

If I’m honest, I still struggle with this dream daily.  Part of me wants it to just lay down and die, so I can move on.  So I can stop holding out hope.  So I can pursue other things.  But it won't die on it's own, and I can't kill it, because I can't quit loving it, even though I try.  I keep on returning to it.  I keep longing for it.  I keep seeing new ways and possibilities that it can be resurrected and that starts the vicious 'hope cycle' all over again.  The hope that if I hold on long enough, it will come to fruition.  The hope that this is some test, and I only need to prove myself faithful, and it will all work out.  And here's the kicker... that might be true!  (Ugh, here we go again, the vicious hope cycle just started over in my heart! Haha)

 

Here's the deal, we all want to matter in this world.  I'll personalize it... I want to matter.  I want my art/music to matter to you.  I want it to matter to a lot of people.  And because of that, I take a risk and put myself out there.  But it is a painful reality to wake up to when I am rejected or not received in the ways I thought I would be.  And sometimes I want to run and hide and say, "Just don't.  Don't get me going.   Don't stir up these things in me.  Don't wake up my dormant dreams.  Don't tell me my songs matter, because its hurts so much when it doesn't work out the way I had hoped it would... so just don't." 

 

But… I still deeply hope it matters to someone.  In fact, I hope it matters to YOU.  And if it does, then you are my ‘someone’.  And that means the world to me.

 

I would love it if you would reach out to me, and tell me YOUR story.  Email me at: kendall@kendallpayne.com

 

And, if you want to support me and hear more “Kendall Payne” music, click on the link to my Patreon page and consider becoming a contributor. 

 

Much love,

Kendall

Story behind the song: "Sinking" 

“Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.”

 

I’m calling bullshit on that one.

 

Question: Has anyone ever said something to you that affected you or wounded you so deeply that you’ve never been able to forget it or fully recover from it?   I’m talking about a comment, or insult, or statement/observation that felt like a dagger in your tender heart?  At the initial moment of trauma, you were so ‘emotionally flooded’, you didn’t even know how to respond.  But now, months, years or even decades later… you can replay that scene, and hear those words, and it feels like it happened yesterday.   

 

Like a record player stuck in a groove, endlessly repeating one line, it becomes the soundtrack of your life.  It can drive you insane.  We carry these words around with us and they haunt us.  Sometimes they are un-truths, but we believe them.  Sometimes they are un-kind, but we can’t shake them.  Sometimes they are off-the-cuff, but they lodge in the deepest recesses of our psyche and give birth to our core insecurities.  

 

The imprint of those moments are so strong in your memory, they can instantaneously bring tears to your eyes whenever you reflect on them. 

And that voice is relentless.  It is merciless.  It is the heavy weight that sinks your buoyant heart to the bottom of an ocean of despair.

 

That is what the song “Sinking” is about.  Those moments.  Those words.

 

One of my favorite psychological terms is “emotional flooding”.  I like it  because it perfectly describes how it feels when someone says or does something that hits “below the belt”. 

 

Maybe you’ve heard that term before?  If not, let me explain…

 

Emotional flooding feels like this:  You’re walking along, not a care in the world, and someone says something to you.  If the same statement were to be overheard by another person, it would mean very little to them, but to YOU it is as if the hoover dam just broke and in nano-seconds, you are completely submerged in hundreds of thousands of gallons of water.

 

Or, another example is… emotional flooding feels like this: Imagine if you were on a submarine and somehow the door is ripped off, and water is pouring in faster than you can strategize how to escape.  And before you know it, you are floating.  

 

We don’t see it coming.  It happens without warning.  And often it comes from the people we care about, or the people who have power over us, which makes it hurt all the more.

 

In my own life, when I have been ambushed by this type of flooding, I wish I could climb up on top of my feelings.  I wish I could be stronger than them, but they dominate me and I feel powerless to rise above them.  

 

This is normally the part in the story when I tell you a very personal and poignant moment that brought this song into being.  But, I will be even more honest than usual and say, I’m too scared to share those with you.  Of course I have them, as I’m sure you do.  But I’m just not ready to go there. 

 

I’ve been sitting here trying to figure out how to unpack and explain all the tiny jabs that sent me spinning in life, but they all seem so small & silly written in black and white.  And I’m starting to realize their power (and their pain) is generated in my own mind, not necessarily in the gory details of what was actually said.   When I try to articulate them out loud, they sound insignificant.  And I feel insecure that they would NOT be devastating enough for you to care about.  I’m worried you’ll think they weren’t that big of a deal, because you don’t know all the tiny details that made them so hurtful. 

 

But we can’t control what statements stick to us like velcro.  I wish we could.  So, would you just believe me when I say that I have had significant ‘word wounds’ in my life that I still have not recovered from.

 

This reminds me of one of my favorite quotes by Rainer Maria Rilke in Letters to a Young Poet when he says, “Do not think that he who seeks to comfort you now, lives untroubled among the simple and quiet words that sometimes do you good.  His life also has much difficulty and sadness, that remains far beyond yours. Were it otherwise, he would never have been able to find those words.”

 

Going back to the song,  the lyrics in the verses & first choruses speak of the endless “round and round” I have endured through many years of rehearsing those statements that cut me down to size.  And the “sinking” feeling every time I attempt to overcome the voice of the critic in my own strength, only to be emotionally flooded, and find myself sinking once again. But the song takes a significant turn at the bridge when it says, “Oh now the way you’re talking has got me thinking up-side-down”.  

 

There’s a great children’s book called “You Are Special” by Max Lucado.  In it, the lead character is a little wooden boy who has spent his whole life being critically judged by others.  Everyone gives him ‘bad marks’.  He is literally covered in them.  But one day he meets a girl, and she is different than the rest.  She has no marks at all.  He doesn’t understand how this is possible.  So he asks her. 

 

I love the way the illustrator brings her essence to life.  I wish you could see the picture of her at this moment.  She is dressed in all white and she has this huge smile on her face that says, “I know something you don’t know!”  But not in a cruel way, she is not taunting him.  It is a compassionate and empathetic smile on her face. 

 

She is living in a different dimension.  She’s tapped into a bigger truth, and that bigger truth allows the little things (the critical judgements and ‘bad marks’) to literally fall off her.  They just don’t stick.  She tells him to go visit “Eli” who is the maker of the wooden people.  And in Eli’s presence “the marks” magically lose their stickiness and just fall off.   

 

Have you ever known a person like that?  I have had the honor and privilege of meeting some of these kinds of people in my life.  People who have turned my world up-side-down when they share their perspective with me.  When they ‘reach for me’, pull me out of my mire and bring me up to their level and I am forever changed by their wisdom. 

 

At the end of the day, as much as I’ve been wounded by hurtful words, I have also been healed by loving words.  Words of truth.  Words of kindness.  Words of tenderness.  Words of bravery.  Those people in my life who have spoken a word of hope to my weary heart have been the mouth piece of God, who I believe is ever-present and longing to comfort & heal us.  And without fail, these people have one thing in common… they all spend time with God.  And in God’s presence, “the marks” just don’t stick. 

 

Because truth is only found in God.  The deepest truths of our acceptance is only discovered in God.  We are loved by Love itself.

 

The ONLY WAY these special people in my life have had anything worthwhile or insightful to say to me, is because they have walked through the fire and lived to tell about it.   They, too, have suffered much.  And their own pain has now been resurrected into new life as they impart their knowledge to me. 

 

Viktor Frankl writes in his book Man’s Search for Meaning, “In some ways, suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds a meaning.”

 

I believe in redemption.  I see it every day of my life.  In some ways, our suffering does not have to be in vain.  If we share our story, and it inspires someone else to keep going, we have found a meaning that is worth more than gold.  I believe the meaning can emerge through sharing the burden with each other, and not allowing anyone to suffer alone. 

 

Some of my “meaning” comes from sharing these songs with you.  That makes me feel like the wounds are not in vain.  They don’t get to have the final say.  It has meaning.  I have meaning.  

 

And so do you.

 

Much love,

Kendall

Story behind the song: "Parable" 

 

I think this song, unlike many of my other tunes, is pretty self-explanatory.  When you listen to it, you will not be left wondering, “what is she talking about?”.  I don’t need to write a lengthy “story behind the song” for you to understand it or catch the intricacies of each phrase and lyric.  But I do want to say a few words about it…

 

In the hands of a great storyteller, even the most mundane experiences and the most minuscule details can somehow be transformed into an epic drama that can leave you laughing, or crying, or pondering the meaning of your existence.

 

Story is EVERYTHING.

 

And the art of storytelling is truly that… an artform. 

 

And art is a very mysterious thing.

 

The artist is charged with bringing this mystery into being.

 

The artist is the vessel, much like a mother carrying a child from conception, through the stages of gestation, until finally, birth, and then, life outside the womb. Breathing on its own.

 

I love a good story.  And I love a good storyteller. One of my all-time favorite stories is The Lord of the Rings. In the movie, there is a great scene at the end when Sam and Frodo are all alone at a crucial moment.  These lines haunt me and comfort me at the exact same time.  I couldn’t say it better myself, so I’m just going to transcribe it:

 

Frodo : I can't do this, Sam.

 

Sam : I know.

It's all wrong

By rights we shouldn't even be here.
But we are.
It's like in the great stories Mr. Frodo.
The ones that really mattered.
Full of darkness and danger they were,
and sometimes you didn't want to know the end.
Because how could the end be happy.
How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad happened.
But in the end, it's only a passing thing, this shadow.
Even darkness must pass.
A new day will come.
And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer.
Those were the stories that stayed with you.
That meant something.
Even if you were too small to understand why.
But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand.
I know now.
Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back only they didn’t.
Because they were holding on to something.

 

Frodo : What are we holding on to, Sam?

 

Sam : That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo. And it’s worth fighting for.

 

When I was reading the bible, I began to ponder the stories that Jesus told and I started thinking about how interesting it was that he chose to communicate through stories.  We call them “Parables”.   The dictionary defines that word as “a simple story used to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson”.   

 

Honestly, sometimes the stories Jesus told are so weird, I am left scratching my head (as I’m sure many of his disciples were) thinking to myself, “What in the world is he talking about?”  And then I would dig a little deeper and start to figure out the cultural context and things began to unlock.  The brilliance of the parables were blowing my mind.  I started to think of him as a master communicator in the art of storytelling.  He needed to throw us off-kilter in his parables as he bucked every ‘norm’ and social convention that humans had erected, to find a new ways of communicating the gospel of grace.  All of the sudden, his stories became thrilling and vibrant and stunningly beautiful because they are often confusing and that makes them intriguing.  It makes you look closer.  It makes you investigate deeper.  And yet, they make perfect sense.

 

I mean seriously, how fascinating is this?  If you believe Jesus was ‘God incarnate’... who knows ALL things... why is he telling stories/parables?  Why isn’t he just dropping fact bombs left and right.  Why isn’t he unpacking the mysteries of the universe in scientific irrefutable evidence?

 

My hypothesis is this: we need stories.  And we need them because we ARE stories.  We are living, breathing stories.  Our whole human existence is God’s story that he is telling, and we are characters in this wildly interactive, and often very confusing, gorgeous story of God’s people living on the planet earth.   

 

And there is room enough for each of us.  We all fit.  And we all have a part to play, somehow.

 

I am a story.  You are a story.  Our lives are a story.  And our story is being  told.  It will have ups and downs, twists and turns, but we have got to hold on.  “Why?”  You ask?  “What are we holding on to?”

 

That there is some good in this world, and it’s worth fighting for.

 

Much love,

Kendall

 

Story behind the song: "Can't Feel You Anymore" 

Warning... this is a painful song to write about and I can imagine it will be a painful song for you to listen to or read about.  But the song is so honest and real, I feel that you need to know the whole story behind the song.  Because my greatest fear is that you will judge me without knowing the deep pain it was born in.  So listen/read with love and care as if this was your story, because we are all a family of humanity, and I believe we are all interconnected in ways we can't even possibly imagine. 

 

On June 14th, 2015 we had a little family birthday party for my daughter who was about to turn 2.  The only people we invited were my parents, my sister, her husband & their son, Camper.  It was a great day! We had a little backyard dance party, food, cake, nothing crazy... very normal.  And we went to sleep that night not knowing it was the last day of "normal" in all of our lives.

 

The next morning my sister called us and said, "I think Camper caught a stomach bug, he woke up this morning and started throwing up.  He's sleeping now, but just wanted to let you know in case your girls start feeling sick."

 

We didn't think anything of it. 

 

The day went on, and Camper (who was 2 years and 9 months old) kept waking up, throwing up, and falling back asleep.  My sister thought it was good for him to rest, so she kept putting him back to bed.  But by the evening, she was having trouble getting him to wake up. He was listless and limp. My husband (who is a pediatrician) advised her to take him to the ER. He said, "He is probably dehydrated and needs fluids."  

 

We were sitting at the kitchen table, eating a late dinner, when the phone rang.  It was my brother-in-law calling from the ER.  I will never forget hearing his voice say, "He has a brain tumor."

 

Even now, 3 years later, the tears are rolling down my cheeks as I recall this memory.  

 

The room started spinning and I remember falling to my knees praying, "Oh God Oh God Oh God Oh God" .  That's all I could utter. 

 

Apparently, Camper had a undiagnosed slow-growing brain tumor that reached critical mass and had hit a blood vessel causing it to rupture.  He had a massive bleed and was basically brain-dead by the time they got him to the hospital that night.

 

There are no words to describe the emotions of shock, sadness, pain, fear, confusion and darkness that washed over all of us in the next few days while we slowly stepped into this new reality.  We all took shifts holding his tiny hand and telling him how much we loved him.  My brother-in-law & sister made the most beautiful (and difficult) choice to donate his organs, and now his heart is beating in another child somewhere. 

 

The days & months that followed are a blur.  But the grief was forced into a very expedited timeline because my sister was already 6 months pregnant with their second son when Camper died.   I remember thinking how this felt like such a blessing and a curse.  Obviously, I don't believe any child is a curse, but it was so hard to endure Campers death while knowing a new life was growing inside her.  As any mother of two children knows, you wonder how you could possibly love your second child as much as your first.  It miraculously happens, but without knowing her second yet... it felt so cruel to be loosing her first little love. 

 

On the other hand, it felt like such a blessing because this pregnancy, and the life growing inside her, was literally the only reason to get up out of bed most mornings.

 

Shortly after her second son was born, my sister announced that she wanted to try to get pregnant again.  She had always wanted to have two children, and because she was getting older, she didn't feel like she had endless amounts of time.  Of course we all supported this decision.

 

What you have to understand is that with BOTH her first pregnancies (Camper & his brother), she got pregnant literally the first "try".  It was like she was the definition of "fertile myrtle".  She assumed this new attempt would have the exact same outcome. 

 

If you have ever journeyed with someone who is trying to get pregnant, or if you yourself have been on that journey, you know it is a monthly emotional rollercoaster.  So imagine adding the grief of a lost first born child, and the heightened hormones of having a infant... For 9 agonizing months she tested negative... and then finally on September 10th, she got a positive pregnancy test. 

 

I remember it was September 10th because September 11th was (or would have been) Campers' 4th birthday.  We could not believe the timing!  I truly believed this was a miracle gift from God sent in divine timing to help her get through the sadness of celebrating his birthday, without him on this earth.

 

And then, the day after that... she had a miscarriage. 

 

When I got the news, I sat down at my piano and that's the day I wrote this song: "I Can't Feel You Anymore".  

 

You see, I have spent my whole life writing and singing songs about God, about hope, about faith, about trust... and for the first time ever, I lost all that.  I was absolutely devastated.  And to be honest, I still have not recovered and I don't know if I ever will.  It was just too much.  Too hard.  Too painful.  Too much suffering, sadness & loss.  Where was this good and faithful God I had believed in?  Because I looked around, and I could not find Him.  I had always "felt" God's presence in my life and I have always seen the angle of redemption in every circumstance... but that day (and for many days since) I felt alone, like there was no one watching out for me.  Because how could a loving God allow this to happen?  Did He turn His back for a moment?   Did He let go of 'the wheel' and accidentally drive our lives off a cliff?  Everyone's pat 'christian answers' (including my own) were not filling the void of darkness I was teetering on. And so I decided to not fake it anymore, and I dove head first into the darkness.  Of course, I didn't make this public knowledge, but those close to me have been faithful sojourners on a very rocky road for the last several years.  

 

I don't know where you are at in you own life and maybe me saying this stuff scares you or makes you uncomfortable but that's not my intention.  I am longing to share whats going on in my heart & head and I'm hoping that through the honesty, it will actually connect us in ways that 'faking it' never could. 

 

Through this deconstruction of all of my religion, I have arrived at a few core beliefs.  And for what it's worth, I feel like sharing them with you.  

I do believe in God, though I don't understand it. 

I do hope that in the end, there will be redemption for all pain & suffering & sadness we experience on earth. 

I do know there is great comfort in the eyes and embrace of other people who have also suffered.  And when they look at you, and when they embrace you, they are the eyes & arms of God in that moment, stirring a deep hope that we are not alone. 

 

Much love,

Kendall

Brand new look! 

 

Welcome Everyone!

 

Thanks for stopping by my newly renovated website.  

I'm looking forward to keeping you more updated with all that's going on in my life.

I will be posting new music here soon, so make sure to sign up on the email list and I'll alert you when that becomes available.

Thanks and much love,

 

Kendall