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New Single - "Two Palm Trees"

Last Christmas, I didn't give you my heart, but I did give you a new single! (Dumb joke, sorry...)

"Two Palm Trees" was written just before the pandemic, when my wife and oldest daughter would leave very early for school/work, sometimes before the sunrise. I would wake up with them, help them out the door, and oftentimes this was the view from my window after they drove away:

 
These two palm trees struck me -- something about the way they stood out in the skyline, particularly as the sun rose behind them. It sparked a metaphor for my wife and I, and the song ensued.
 

You and I are two palm trees

Silhouetted in the sunrise

Reaching up to Heaven

As we grow together

Dancing in the sea breeze

Carrying all these leaves

A beacon in the sky

To you driving by


You and I are two palm trees

Swaying in the sunrise

You see the shoreline

I'll dream with you there

We have a mission

With a different destination

A life of inspiration

Let's fulfill why we're here

My wife and I feel like we are put on this earth, and furthermore, placed together in marriage, to accomplish a purpose, designated by God. As the bible says, "For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." (Ephesians 2:10 NIV) "Two Palm Trees" is an exploration of that topic and what it means to live a life together for something beyond ourselves.

Shortly after this one was written the pandemic hit and everything shut down for a year. Katie and I felt something of an ache in not being able to be more available for people outside of our immediate circle, due to widespread fear of the unknown. A year later and shut-down was still our reality, though to a lesser degree. About this time, we started praying for God to make us more effective -- through our friends, our church, in our community and even in the world. And then, seemingly out of nowhere, Katie started dreaming up working at an international school (she's a teacher), and before we knew it, we had an offer to teach in China!

The rest of 2021 was spent preparing to move to China, which felt like something God had ordained for us. During a pandemic, this was more than a challenge, taking over 6 months just to get visas! But every time it seemed like everything was all falling apart, something would progress and so we kept walking on that path, all the while praying for God to either make it happen or shut it down, because the whole process felt like living in limbo.

You and I are two palm trees

Silhouetted in the sunset

A change of perspective

The wind in our wings

Leaning a little more now

But still pointed upward

We hold this earth loosely

With all of its things

 

You and I are two palm trees

Swaying in the sunset

The darkness is rising

The wind in your hair

Still growing together

And still pointed upward

Our roots are down deep though

They don't belong there

If I'm being honest, all of it felt a little crazy -- moving to a communist country where in many parts we would be enemies just because of our faith, not to mention rising tensions between our country and theirs -- but we kept pursuing, kept trusting. Out of that whole season, this song stuck out to me as one of the best ones I had written during that time, and so when my friend Noel offered to produce some tracks for me, "Two Palm Trees" was an obvious choice.

 
My friend Aaron of Anaheim Studios had offered us his space to track drums, so we did this song and another beachy reggae tune that will come out later this year (featured in that Instagram post above, though that's another project, another post). We then went into Noel's studio to track the rest of the song, pictured here with all his gear, you know, in case you live in LA and want to hire him :)

It was a long year, waiting on paperwork, working odd jobs to fill the financial gap, but in that liminal space, I thought it was a perfect time to release this song. Noel finished his mix mid-December, and so I released it on Christmas, as I mentioned earlier. A few days after that, we received our visas and so travel preparations ensued for our two-year stint in China.

However, as the holidays went on and Omicron ran rampant, the realities of actually leaving the country were getting more and more difficult. Our first flight got canceled, and then China imposed increased travel restrictions, requiring more time and money to get out. After nearly seven months of drudging along through paperwork, bureaucracy, draining our bank account, and waiting, waiting, waiting...the light at the end of the tunnel felt so close, but also so dim. And so we started looking for jobs locally and decided to go with whichever came first -- a new job or China. 

As it turns out, my wife is very good at getting jobs, and the first one she applied for came through quickly. It's a dream job really, and something that would have been much more difficult to get in the spring, when most teachers look for jobs. So we made a tough call, and quit the job in China, which was not an easy thing to do given both our and their investments. 

 

So what does all of that say about calling? If we were meant to go to China, why didn't it work out? Did we misinterpret God's voice? Or did He lead us down a path for what feels like nothing?

Well, I'm the type of person who looks for meaning in just about everything, so I can tell you that it wasn't for nothing. I grew a lot during this season of waiting, learning more about myself and my tendencies as it pertains to decisions and relationships. Katie and I had a renewed dependency on God, who miraculously provided for us despite not having full-time income for seven months. And then for Katie to get this amazing opportunity at the end of it, that wouldn't have been available mid-year, just feels like something God had lined up.

I still don't know the totality why we walked through this season, but "Two Palm Trees" now has all the more meaning attached to it, written before the world shut down and then recorded amid a season of waiting on and trusting a God who we believe has good things planned for us to do on this earth, as well as a home to go to beyond it.

It's easier to see when

You're up high like this

Pointed to the sky while

The world below spins

So let the winds blow their worst

Scorch the ground and split the earth

We'll fall and rise together my dear

Because there's another place prepared for us

Far away from here

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