I’m really pleased today to release the video blog for February’s A Song A Month, ‘Light Has Come’.
Most of you reading this will know that I’m a disabled person. I try not to bang on about it all the time, but being disabled is part of me, it’s not something I can easily avoid, and so instead I try and embrace it, without making a fuss.
Years ago now, I did a Disability Studies Masters by Distance Learning from the University of Leeds. One of the key people on the course, Colin Barnes, challenged me to write songs about my experience of disability. ‘We need more protest songs’, he said. I always fought shy of writing about disability, mostly because I didn’t feel I had the language to write about it well in a song. I haven’t wanted to be a protest songwriter. I’m no Martyn Joseph.
Over the last few years though, perhaps as I get older and some of the idealism of youth wears off, I’ve found myself finding the UK a harder and harder place to live as a disabled person. I personally am a very fortunate man. I have a family, a wife who I love and who loves me. I have a faith which sustains me, and I feel like I’m able to make a contribution to my community, and to society, in a variety of ways. The fact remains though that I am in physical pain of one sort or another all of every day (like a lot of people, a lot of whom have it worse than me) and more than this, mentally and emotionally, I face challenges and hurdles to overcome many times daily, because I use a wheelchair and am disabled. It’s hard to explain or quantify. It’s simply how it is. I hate being disabled. Much as I’m supposed to be well-adjusted to it all, I wish I wasn’t.
But I know full well that my life isn’t as hard as it is for a great many other people, whether they are disabled people, or whether they experience other things in life which marginalise them and make them part of minority groups they never asked to be in. I truly believe that, as people of social conscience, Christian or not, we are called to be prophetic, whether we’re off faith or not. I believe we’re called to stand and hold one another to account for how we treat each other, whether we are ‘successful’, functionally well, impaired, old, young, or anything else. It saddens me to sense a corporate, societal, hardening of heart towards people with disabilities. Perhaps I’m wrong, perhaps I’m entirely mistaken, but that’s my sense.
February’s A Song A Month is a humble offering, inviting us to see that there is a better way to live, a better way to treat one another, to treat ourselves. A Light Has Come.
Thanks once again to Pete Thorn for playing on this song, and his help with the video.