Word Three / 2015 / So Well / Dusti Jensen, Bryan Norton, Steve Whitby

One night Bryan, Steve and I sat down to write our Tenebrae song with nothing prepped. If I remember correctly, Bryan had had an idea of a guitar part rolling around in his head. As the guys noodled on their guitars and started making pretty sounds, I sat and meditated on our Scripture, John 19:25-27.

It reads, “Standing close to Jesus’ cross were his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. Jesus saw his mother and the disciple he loved standing there; so he said to his mother, ‘Woman, here is your son.’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ And from that time the disciple took her to live in his home.” Their sounds began to take shape and as I listened to them create what is now some of my favorite guitar parts that they’ve written, I couldn’t help but be inspired to dig deep and write something so I could sing along.

We wrote “So Well” in 2015. I was a few years into being a mother of 2 sons, and my oldest, Everest, was newly at an age where he could start to converse with me. Half the time I felt like I didn’t know what I was doing as a mother, and it seemed like a 50/50 split between making the right decision and the wrong one. In reality, most of the time I couldn’t even tell if what I was doing was right OR wrong. As Everest and I started talking about more things, I was surprised by how moved I was by his expressions of love and affection despite my insecurities and failures as his mother. Hearing, “You’re the best mommy,” and, “I love you more than my heart,” simply melted me, nourished me, softened me and caused me to neglect everything but his snuggles. Even if I was getting it all wrong despite my best efforts, I still had his love, and that felt so good.

As I sat there contemplating Jesus’ words, I saw a picture of an eldest son caring for his mother. I was moved by his mindfulness of her even as he took on the weight of the world and faced death. I imagined how hard Jesus dying on the cross was for Mary to watch, and how his acknowledgment of her made her feel. I also imagined that as his mother, there’s some things she knew he was saying without saying. The first verse and chorus stem from this image of mother and son, and the words, “You have loved me so well” seemed to fit into the realm of something Mary knew he could be communicating to her between the lines. Imagine how good that would feel if you were Mary!

But I also think Jesus knew there was more to the story. Therefore, he not only loved her well tangibly by securing good care after his death, but I imagine he also left a hopeful promise of continued love: “You will see me again, I’ll love you so well.”

Typical to the way stream of consciousness works, this led me down a path of imagining Jesus was telling ME that I have loved him well, and promising ME that the story of his love isn’t over. He is not my son, but he is my savior, and the thought of him pleased with me feels good beyond words. That’s the direction the rest of the song took. It paints a picture of some things Jesus could be saying without saying to the rest of us, between the lines. After all, his deep love extends to us too.

The lyrics to the third verse came to me later. They actually woke me up in the middle of the night exactly as they are in the song. When we were recording and editing the first rough demo of this song, we talked about cutting this verse out just to shorten the song. In the end, we all decided not to because it shows the weight of his promise. If we believe Jesus, we hang our sin, shame, suffering, and pain on Jesus and he holds it so that our hands are free, so that God sees us. There’s no way we will live perfectly here or that everything will go perfectly in this fallen world, but we can “just believe” and live our lives sharing the same kind of radical love. When we do, I think he’s saying something like, “You are loving me so well my dear. I’ll make it all right.”

By believing in him, we enter into his love. By loving ourselves and others well, we love him well. By searching for God daily and listening to the Spirit, we love him well. By repenting and apologizing when we do wrong to God or others, we love him well. By freely accepting the grace Jesus died to offer, we love him well. Even though we will continue to sin because we aren’t Christ, and even though darkness will still have a presence in this world until it’s time for the next, let us let ourselves feel the goodness and reassurance of Christ’s love for us. Even if we get it all wrong despite our best efforts, we still have his love, he sees our love, and he still died for us.

Let us let ourselves believe Christ enjoys us, that his reassurance is as real as our shame, and that he would die for us all over again.

Because he would.

Lyrics

There you are
You didn’t have to come here
Everything 
Has to change
Don’t be afraid
I will still take care of you
Before I go
Just know one thing

You have loved me so well
You’ve loved me so well
You’ve loved me so well
You will see me again
I’ll love you so well
I’ll love you so well

Here it is
The story isn’t over
Know the dark
Will never win
My faithful ones
You’ll live with me forever
Hear me say
And know one thing

You have loved me so well
You’ve loved me so well
You’ve loved me so well
You will see me again
I’ll love you so well
I’ll love you so well

Your suffering
Hand it over here my dear
All your pain
Can die with me
My wounds will bleed
Your freedom flowing out of me
Just believe
And know one thing

This love
This love
it’s all for you
It’s all for you

You have loved me so well
You’ve loved me so well
You’ve loved me so well
You will see me again
I’ll love you so well
I’ll love you so well

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