Someone asked me yesterday what I thought about the shooting in Oregon. Instead of words, I sent them a song.

I wrote it, sung by Molly Jenson, after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary school, when one of the parents who lost their child sent me a letter. I sat down at the piano and started playing the first thing that came to me, and as I spoke whatever words formed against the music, I realized I was speaking from the perspective of the bullet. And as the bullet, I didn’t get to choose to land in that child; I was sent there by the person who loaded me into the gun and pulled the trigger. I could have landed in a target on a tree, or been shot in salute over the bow of a boat.

But someone carrying a burden sent me into a child.

We all carry burdens that we can help each other ease. Talk to each other. And listen.

Because some burdens are heavier than others, and sometimes just listening, really listening, can lighten the weight.

And the person behind you in line, or next to you on the bus, or your dad or your sister-in-law or your best friend, may be carrying the heaviest of all burdens, one that can sink them into a dark downward spiral, like the spiral that ended yesterday at Umpqua Community College‬ in ‪Oregon‬.

I was searching for these lyrics and found them in an email to Wayne Dyer. I’d shared the song first with him and the woman I wrote it for… Wayne had connected the two of us. I had hoped her child could somehow hear it too. And now I’m sharing it with you.


they took me from the fire/
metal forged my skin/
for what darker of desires/
lay in the hearts of men

then they put me in a box/
with others just like me/
high upon a shelf/
for all the world to see

i could have landed in a twelve point/
under amber autumn sky/
or in the old fallen willow/
where paper targets die

but i don’t make those kind of choices/
i have to go where I am sent/
and i never know where I am going/
until I know where I went

he took the box down in secret/
and left me in his room/
underneath a glowing screen/
where he drowned himself in doom

until he had enough one day/
when he took me in his hand/
and put me in a darker place/
where i heard the hammer slam

i could have flown over the ocean/
in an officer’s salute/
or taken down your killer/
before he had time to shoot

but i don’t make those kind of choices/
i have to go where I am sent/
and i never know where I am going/
until I know where i went

i flew/
and closer/
and closer/
to you

but i didn’t mean to hurt you/
i had to go where I was sent/
i didn’t know where I was going/
but now I know where I went