John Tracy Wilson is a talented singer/songwriter, and as I approached his first book with this in mind I found it to be an enjoyable and at times inspiring listen. And much like a CD, it is a collection of compositions, some of which stand out more than others, and within which are some true gems – some lyrics and hooks that stayed with me and which I felt the need to share with others.
One can appreciate the book without any foreknowledge of John’s music, and in fact he introduces his lyrics throughout. But you really should introduce yourself, so follow the link to his website (www.johntracywilson.com) and you can listen to excerpts of his songs in the store. These songs tell the honest stories of a man working his life out in hope and faith. He embraces mystery, and places abiding trust in the God he knows behind that mystery.
The book held a few surprises for me. I was not expecting those wonderful poetic turns of phrase:
“…as we take in and breathe out the elements that form the atmosphere of relationship.”
“…humility has a wingspan with far reaching power and distance when compared to the limited stretch of prideful self-assurance.”
They seem inspired by or the background for a song. They fill the room with an expanding vision. Which is what music is supposed to do, I think.
The other surprise, for me, what John’s vulnerability regarding his pain-filled relationship with his father. I did not know that about John, and wasn’t expecting that to be such a large part of this story. It is sad to hear that he still struggles so deeply and daily. Yet that admission is likely to be a help and encouragement to others who have stories of lingering pain and brokenness. For John’s real story is his faith in the God who works in and through all of that to redeem it, to bring healing and hope to John, and through him to others, by the song and the story he shares.
He has insights to share regarding parenting in particular. They are things many of us know but may need to be reminded and encouraged to live. I think I’ll be a more reflective and patient parent for having read John’s story and getting to see into his life. The book seems to share both the back and future stories of his songs, where they were born, and where he thinks they may be headed when they grow up. Creative works of poetry, prose or music are like children – we pour ourselves into them, but we are not in control of what they become in the world – though we hope and pray that it is blessing.
I am grateful to John for his courage and humility. I am grateful for this book, which will reach people in need of a word of hope. If that is you, take and read. If it is someone near you, then gift it to them. As John might say, “Things may not go the way you expect, or even the way you want, but trust that God is present with you through it all and seeks to bring it and you to a place of blessing.”