Surprised by Grace

The english language is full of interesting challenges to understanding the definitions and context of words and expressions — but never more than today it would seem. Its difficult to have a conversation about some topics today – things turn so volatile, so quickly. Two friends can be enjoying a chat over coffee, and then, BOOM. Someone asked a question, or inferred that they have an alternate opinion to others. Blood pressures start to rise, and defensiveness sets in – you start to feel like you have no appetite for the dialogue, but you are also aware that the subject is important and so you feel the need to stay engaged – no matter your perspective.

I have been strongly encouraged to change the title of the album “Breathing Again” to something else. It has been suggested that the expression may not be well received by some people following the passing of George Floyd. I had chosen this title to describe how it felt to come back to writing and performing music again after a difficult 10-year hiatus, and all of the encumbrances to peace that I had experienced over that time. The album is a musical expression of my resilience journey, and if the title causes people to draw inaccurate conclusions and miss the message, that would seem to be tragically self-defeating.

It is a good title, and I did not want to surrender it – but, I began to feel that I may be foolish to ignore the advice I received.

So, I decided to run a crowd-sourcing post for a new title to the album. Not only did I receive many GREAT suggestions, I also found myself grateful that the title was challenged, as the post generated significant online engagement and discussion about the meaning of the songs and the inspiration they bring to people! Here are a couple of the posts in support of the new title, Open Water:

“I like Open Water because it has complexity. You are looking to be free to be yourself – open water is many things. Exhilarating 0- – but it can be treacherous without a life jacket! Relying on Him to be your safety in your journey”

Open Water – sounds healing and well open to cleanse the human spirit.”


There were many other positive affirmations to the songs on the album — and it strikes me as interesting to note that I would not have been aware of any of them if the title had not been challenged. To let myself be challenged and to suspend my judgment of the situation or the emotion of setting aside something that I had created – required grace. In this case it became the safe space for all to engage without judgment – without fear of the outcome.

So, Open Water, it shall be.

The bonus track for the Album is a song that I first released around twenty (20) years ago, during a time of racial tension in Saskatchewan: Let it Rain. I am thankful that it has been raining in Saskatchewan since writing this song, and for the many reconciliations that have occurred. Here is the updated version:

Let it Rain
(A song of former joy, dissonance, and a call for hope)

The sun is burning, searing the land, turning fertile soil into grains of sand – the fescue is unattended, brown and kindling dry, ready for the match to ignite flames that light the sky.

Let it Rain – let it rain, send the shower to revive this land again, a flood of love will uncover, compassion for our brother.

Seasons of drought have added to the plight, primed the cannon’s barrel, readied for a fight, but win, lose, or draw there is nothing to be gained, by burning up the fields,
instead of harvesting the grain.


If you would like to donate to the Saskatchewan Police Memorial Ride to Remember, you may do so here. Each $40 donation gets you a free 12″ vinyl record of original songs, including a song dedicated to the cause. You will also received the songs in digital (MP3) format.