When I worked with Urban Voices Project, a choir on Skid Row in downtown Los Angeles, I met a man named Brian Palmer. He used to say, “One act of love, I know for sure, is to listen.”
We lost Brian a few years later, suddenly and unexpectedly. And as I struggled to make sense of his death, these words rang in my ears, and became the foundation for this song.
“Listen” is about all the different ways we need to remind ourselves to listen. Whether to ourselves or to one another; when it’s easy and also when it’s difficult; to those who agree with us, and to those who don’t. Because we never know when the chance to listen might be gone forever.
Listen to the sound of your breathing,
Listen to the waves it makes.
Listen to your voice as you’re singing
Listen to the space it takes.
Listen to your heart as it’s beating
Listen as your soul awakes.
‘Cause one act of love, I know, for sure, is to listen.
Listen to the voices inside you
Guiding you to being whole.
Listen to the people who see you
They will help you hold your soul.
Listen to the ones that oppose you
They can even play a role.
‘Cause one act of love, I know for sure is to listen
Time is fleeting,
There’s just so long we remain
So listen deeply
For you might never have that moment
Every act of love is a mirror
Showing us our purest light
Every act of love is a pathway
Into one another’s lives
Every act of love is essential
To build a world that survives.
And that first act of love, I know, for sure, is to listen.