Me, Too (and Sho Baraka)

I believe that one of the most powerful phrases in the known universe is “me, too.”

There is an instant connection when someone has gone/is going through the struggles you are experiencing.

Someone said it’s difficult to relate to someone based on successes. Success tends to breed competition and even contempt. And success isn’t universal because definition of success varies here and there.

But pain is. No one can escape this world without pain.
There’s something… comforting (for a lack of a better word) when you realize you’re not alone. When someone has struggled with what you’re going through.

Part of the problem of our culture today is that we don’t say, “me, too” enough. We don’t take time to actually listen to people’s struggle. Don’t take the effort to find the things we may have in common. We’re quick to discern how we’re different. Quick to judge and even quicker to write folks off.

But this post isn’t about that. It’s about a song I recently heard.
After I finished my Hamilton Mixed Tape and A Tribe Called Quest kick, I was looking for something else to occupy my ears. Then I remembered that my friend had recommended I listen to Sho Baraka months ago. I was really digging what this guy had to say in songs like Kanye, 2009 and Propfet, 1968. I was wrapping up my rough draft of my sermon when Words, 2006 came up.

I couldn’t tell you how emotional this song made me, trying to get the dust out of my eyes.

Learned through that song that Sho has a child with special needs. I googled him to get more info.

But throughout the song, Me, too. Man, I understand what you’ve experienced is all that went through my mind. Though, I couldn’t tell if that was me talking to Sho or Sho talking to me.

With N in our lives, anything with the words “special needs” or “autism”, my ears perk up. And I’m blessed reading stories of the journey people with special needs and their families embark on from the utterly heart wrenching to the up lifting.

There were some lyrics in this song that really pricked my heart and I was grateful to hear them and even more grateful to be reminded, we’re not alone.

And let’s be reminded — chances are we have more in common with people than what divides us. If only we’re willing to listen to one another…

In the mean time, here’s the song Words, 2006. But check out his whole album The Narrative (and his other albums, too)

Yeah, maybe words don’t say much
Maybe we don’t need words to communicate our love

All I wanted was a perfect life
Some perfect kids and a perfect wife
Some perfect days and some perfect nights
Even though I’m flawed, I should be alright
A child with special needs didn’t fit in my plans
I’m a needy man, wanting more that what you put in his hands
All I wanted was a perfect family core
Now I’m envying the family next door
Trying not to trust therapy more than God
I am walking the street where fear and love collide
I am learning in weakness, you still gotta serve
And my connection with my boys is way deeper than words
But damn, words, I thrive with ’em
Words are my life, my career, I survive with ’em
I’m given a life sentence that words can’t fix
Now we both live in a world that don’t make sense

Yeah maybe words don’t say much
Maybe we don’t need words to communicate our love

My sons are not a punishment or an accident
Just a little abstract masterpiece of what the master did
I try not to doubt the power of prayer
But many times, I just feel like the power ain’t there
Some days I’m feeling good, some days I’m feeling torn
I’m getting praise for activities a father should perform
I get applause when I excel, thank you
Is there grace for me when I fail and I’m feeling shameful

Yeah, well maybe words don’t say much
Maybe we don’t need words to communicate our love

My father said he needed greater trust in the Lord
And the Lord used cancer so he could trust in Him more
He died without complaining, that’s when I understood
He taught me more in his silence, than a sermon ever could
Words can be lies to help us disguise our phoniness
Feeling insecure, in the midst of pride and loneliness
I learned the meaning of contentment really fast
Wanting change, while appreciating everything that you have

Yeah maybe words don’t say much
Maybe we don’t need words to communicate our love
Maybe words don’t say much
Maybe I should just learn to shut up
Only you know
Only you know
Oh oh oh
Only you know
Only you know
Oh oh oh

Truth is your presence speaks much louder than when a choir sings
I never knew I’ll find joy up in the smallest things
The counsellor said “Live long, love strong, stick together”
This is a thorny rose you two will carry forever
Find value in your interactions, and not in your treasure
Find strength in Jesus, increase your faith in good measure
Avoid evil, your kids need a home that is peaceful
Don’t be a passive man, understand that your family needs you
Pray for healing, hoping they find a cause
But after all, I resolved, you are not a problem to solve
Maybe I wouldn’t change you
Maybe I’m just unable to see your potential
Because I’m blinded by the labels

Yeah maybe words don’t say much
Maybe we don’t need words to communicate our love
Maybe words don’t say much
In that moment, we had a breakthrough
Silence, I want to thank you
In that moment, we had a breakthrough
Silence, I want to thank you

2 thoughts on “Me, Too (and Sho Baraka)

  1. Hi Joe, This sharing has wandered around in my mind since I first read it. I have serious concerns about “Me, too.” I think it is much more important to listen and allow the other to share. I think there are more compassionate ways to show empathy that responding, “Me, too.”

    “Me, too.” takes the issue away from the person who is trying to share and then causes the focus to go to the person to whom the issue was being shared. I think the most important sentences in your sharing are the ones after you said we don’t say ‘me too’ enough.

    Listening is critical when someone is sharing from the heart. Check out this

    But then, you did say your post was not about that…

    Hope all is well with you and your family. Blessings, Martha. >

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