The Storm – Flying Colors

Flying Colors: Mike Portnoy (drums, vocals), Dave LaRue (bass), Neal Morse (keyboards, vocals), Casey McPherson (lead vocals), and Steve Morse (guitar)

The fourth song into the Flying Colors debut album is called The Storm.  Go ahead and give it a free listen here, I’ll wait. It’s worth the wait actually.  This is a great song.

So anyways, now that you’ve given it a listen, or are listening to it right now, did you catch all the lyrics?  While I suppose some people, maybe better developed than I, would say that the lyrics cover typical things about change and perseverance.  But me?  I’m a sucker and love all that stuff.  We are all human, all striving to better ourselves or our situations.  Of course we need reminders about how we can advance forward in our own lives.  Who cares if it’s something that’s been in songs for millennia, so has love, but there are great new love songs produced every year.

So what is the storm?  Well the song starts off with describing the classic “easy season” of life.  Where things are just going well.  No stress, everything seems great.  For me these times were while I was in school, or after my marriage had settled past the transition point.  Things were just going swimmingly and we had plans for the future, I knew what I was doing.  While in school, I had years planned.  When I was in high school, I knew where I’d be in 2 years (community college) or 5 years (university).   That’s a lifetime to someone in their late teens.  That certainly fits the description of “life was easy, stretched out in the sun”.  And school was always generally easy enough that I wasn’t too stressed out.  But life was busy.  The “world was off my shoulders for awhile” so I could just focus on getting done what needed to get done.

There was a time
When my life was easy
Stretched out in the sun
Everything was clover
The world was off my shoulders for awhile

The same goes for my marriage, and I assume for many marriages though this is no hard-fast rule as many exceptions exist.  But once I had made the transition from single/engaged to married man, everything goes along pretty swimmingly.  No big changes.  We both work full-time.  Come home.  Eat.  Socialize with others, socialize with each other.  Pay bills.  Repeat.

But then the sky turned a bomb fire shade
And hit me like a gun
It passed with flying colors
There’s no flying over…
The storm…

But then, even in my life, my wife is pregnant.  Heavily pregnant.  The sky is turning that “bomb fire shade”, I can see the storm coming and I know there is no flying over.  Not that I even want to, but it’s coming.  No matter how much I prepare for it, this kid will “hit me like a gun”.  There will be changes I can’t even anticipate or imagine.  Sure, I’ve heard all the stories, and I know the basics; but as everyone has said “ain’t nothing like the real thing”.  This is one storm I’m ready to experience!

We will dance as it breaks
The storm…
It will give as it takes
And all of our pain is washed away
Don’t cry or be afraid
Some things only can be made
In the storm

I thought the above lines were beautifully written (and sung).  The image of dancing as the storm breaks.  Changes in life aren’t anything to be afraid of and to resist.  Bring the changes!  “It will give as it takes”.  Yes, changes hurt, it seems to be in our human nature to cringe at change, but it isn’t worth “crying or being afraid” about.  As he sings, “somethings can only be made in the storm”.  I will change in the next year, drastically, as a new father.  But I could never be that person in 1 year without the crazy storm of rearing a child.  My future self – whom I look forward to meeting on the other side of the storm – would never be made if I didn’t dance through the storm.  Indeed it can be painful but “all of our pain is washed away”.

All your secrets come undone
Every web you’ve ever spun
All your secrets come undone
Let’em go
Let it come…
The storm…
We will dance as it breaks

It’s humorous here, because I swear the band isn’t talking about raising a child, but it sure fits it!  I realize they are talking about the storms in our lives in the general sense, I guess it just happens to be that child rearing is one of the biggest storms we can have, and it certainly fits the profile.  So how does having a kid fit the above?  Well, I don’t have a kid yet so I’m only speculating.  If I disagree with myself in 2 months after I’ve had the kid for a couple of weeks I’ll come back and tell you.  If I don’t, well, just take it that I assumed close enough to actuality.

So the assumptions go with what is typically told a new family: “Your life will change, and all the plans you’ve made are going to change”.  I’ve certainly heard that one.  But even as they get older, you hear “Kid’s will tell all your family secrets.  You will have no secrets”.  That certainly fits the “secrets coming undone” part of the song!  And while maybe not directly what they were singing about, assuming the webs of our lives are our plans, the Storms of our lives can certainly undue all our plans/webs.  Having a child certainly will.  Maybe not my long-term 20+ year plans/hopes, but the near term plans will definitely change.  But then again, I’m excited as I’ve already stated.  I’m ready to “dance as it breaks”

Real quick, on a different note.  In actuality how I read the above part of the song (apart from my personal storm brewing on the horizon) is in economic terms.  Depressions/Recessions/Abrupt Market Shifts are economic storms and they are absolutely fantastic at clearing out the refuse in the economy.  They clean out all the businesses and misappropriated wealth that were built on false data, lies, or is just plainly an inefficient use of wealth.  The same thing can go for our lives.  The Storm can clean out the aspects of our lives that is built on falsity, or that we have fabricated to make ourselves feel better, when in actuality all those secrets we have need to see the light of day.  They need to be cleaned up by the storm.  If you don’t get these cleaned out our lives could reflect an economy that has stalled the depression (through fiat): the depression will last longer and be harsher.  It’s much better to let our secrets go, let the Storm come, “let it come”.

Stare chaos in the face
We need only to embrace
Don’t cry or be afraid
Some things only can be made
In the storm

These are the final lyrics in the song ‘The Storm’, and a fitting ending it is.  It ends with a reminder of what the Storm is, how we should respond, and a closing phrase reminding that “some things only can be made in the storm”.  Like reminding a kid that if he really wants that toy, he needs to save up for it.  Some things can only be received by hard work and delayed satisfaction.

In all of this, I want to ensure that I am not purposefully “leaving out” God’s role in the storms of our lives.  I try to give God credit to His storms and His help in my response to the storms, but that aspect just wasn’t on my heart to write about.  Nor does the song explicitly mention that either, as it is a “not specifically Christian album, even if it has Christian undertones”.  Instead I wanted to focus on our individual response to storms, which is what the song is about.

As the song describes the Storms, “Chaos” is a good name.  So often the storms in our lives are utter chaos.  Child rearing will be chaotic for sure.  I am attempting to embrace it as well as I can.  I am excited for this storm, and I pray that my wife and I will be able to dance as it breaks over us.  I think we will.  I already love the kid and am excited to meet him/her.  But I am afraid at times – who wouldn’t be? – but I am certainly looking forward to the things that will be made in this storm.  Myself, my wife, and my family.  Some things can only be made in the storm, and I will dance as it breaks.

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2 thoughts on “The Storm – Flying Colors

  1. Pingback: Musical Album of the Year 2012 « The Economical Engineer

  2. That was wonderful to read all your thoughts about your precious storm coming! And it will, mostly because you get so very tired because they cry alot. The hardest will be for Heather…you will learn to sleep thru all the crying and Heather will be full of milk and need to get up anyway. Those are such precious times…in the middle of the night, nursing your baby and rocking. I felt euphoric (sp?) with each baby, so happy I thought I would burst with the joy of it. Not every mom feels this way, some get depressed. I’m praying Heather will feel euphoric or at least normal. John, you will be a great dad! I know it…..it’s so much fun even with all the work…the fun outweighs all the work. Dad was abit jealous when Amy came, you might have the same feelings. The mom is soooo busy with the new baby and husband feels left out. It’s part of the growing up business….and learning how to be unselfish. Harder for some people then for others. You dance John thru this wonderful storm!!! “In the mood…dup da da da da da da da!” hee hee

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