I’m a big music buff. I love music of all genres and as a pop-culture & communication professor, I know that music is a very personal thing. The listener hears what they want to hear…they take what they want to take from it and make it their own. Internalize it. Use it. People, in a sense, “own” the song. One person’s favorite song might be another person’s white noise but what matters is that everyone’s interpretation is unique.
The other day I was driving down the road and heard a Craig Morgan song entitled “This Ain’t Nothing” (Songwriters: Kerry Kurt Phillips and Chris DuBois). I immediately took to the song and as I listened I got goose-bumps because something deep inside me related to the words. The song is about a man who just had a tornado tear down his home. He’s asked by a reporter what he’s going to do and the old man says “This ain’t nothing” and begins to recount how he’s lost everyone that was dear to him. Father, brother, wife, etc… and how a stupid tornado wasn’t anything compared to the loss he’s suffered throughout his many years.
One way to interpret this song is to think that this old man is jaded. That he’s ready to give up and throw in the towel and that he’s cynical having lost every person that is dear to him. You could interpret this as a “who-cares-I’m-bitter-and-giving-up kind of attitude.” This would be a sad way of looking at things though wouldn’t it?
The way that I evidently internalized the song (as seemingly indicated by my goosebumps) was one of – “some things just aren’t worth getting upset about.” What I heard was the old man saying, in effect, that there are more important things in life. I heard him saying “It’s the people…the humanity…your loved ones” that are what matter. This got me thinking that perhaps in this song filled with tales of loss and woe, there is a motivational message.
The simple words tell the message…
“He said I learned at an early age,
There’s things that matter and there’s things that don’t
So if you’re waiting here for me to cry,
I hate to disappoint you boy, but I won’t”
Put another way- life is short, bad things will happen, we will lose at times, we do bad things sometimes, and people do bad things to us sometimes. But no matter what we move forward. The man in the song is old. The song wouldn’t work with a young guy telling the story because unfortunately many of us don’t realize these lessons until we are older. Experience takes time and by the time that we realize that “This ain’t nothing” we have spent way too much time worrying that “this is something.”
My challenge to you is to heed the old man’s advice in this song now and realize that most of the things we fret over in life “aren’t nothing.” Embrace those that you love and hold them dear because they are what matter and those relationships are what’s important. You don’t know when, for whatever reason, they will go away. Enjoy life and live life to the fullest and make your life and the lives around you SOMETHING!