Sometimes a random song can change your life profoundly and for the good. Doug Zeigler shares how thankful he is for this brand of kismet.
I’m scrambling to get ready for work on an early summer morning, the TV on in the living room as I normally have in my daily routine. For some reason the TV is on VH1 as opposed to my customary ESPN. As I exit the bedroom to go pack lunch in the kitchen, I pass the TV and a song begins that I’ve never heard before. The first line freezes me in my tracks:
“Let me hold you for the last time; it’s the last chance to feel again.”
I’m riveted…it’s a song called Broken Strings by a fellow named James Morrison and Nelly Furtado is singing with him. By the end of the song, I’m on my couch, head in my hands, bawling my eyes out. In four minutes those two had sung exactly what my marriage was like and forced me to fess up to what I already knew but just was trying avoid: we were both miserable and going through the motions of marriage. It was time to end it. A hammer blow to my heart, despite its inevitability.
My ex and I had not been getting along for over a year at that point. In reality, we hadn’t been happy for a much longer period of time, but that last year was awful for both of us. Somehow a random song from someone I’d never heard of on a channel I accidentally had on changed the course of my life.
I’d never been one to feel very connected to songs. I certainly loved music and enjoyed a wide swath of styles, but nothing ever resonated with me personally until this song.
“When I love you is so untrue, I can’t even convince myself; when I’m speaking, it’s the voice of someone else.”
We’d been saying “I love you” at the end of conversations like you’d say “Thanks” to someone who lent you something. It was involuntary and unfeeling.
“Running back through the fire when there’s nothing left to save.”
That line. That was the clincher.
I told my then-wife that I wanted a divorce. She begged and pleaded to give it a chance, which I did, for 1 month. Then I told her again that it was over, and she didn’t argue one bit. The next day she moved ½ of the possessions and both of our sons out of the house.
I have hundreds of things to be thankful for. But without this singular moment, this song that sounded like my heart and my mind flowing from the TV, I’d never have known true love and happiness. I wouldn’t have let go of all the anger and resentment or the dread of heading home to an unfulfilling marriage.
Without that song, I’d never been free to meet Jillian. I wouldn’t have taken a chance on a blossoming love that I was trying so hard to deny because I was scared of being wounded again. I would have missed out on a connection and a love that romance novels wish they could emulate. Every day I wake up more thankful than the last that I have her, and every night I go to sleep hoping not wake up and it all be a dream. She is my all.
I am thankful that a singer/songwriter and a pop starlet collaborated on a sad song that played on a VH1 at the exact time I could hear it. I’m thankful it compelled me to find a better life and to find happiness with a woman well beyond what I deserve.
Thank you, James Morrison and Nelly Furtado. Thank you.