Safe & Sound


Hey Kiddo,

As you know, I’m not a particular fan of modern pop music. So when my kids suggested I take a moment and watch a video with Taylor Swift (who isn’t of particular interest to anyone in our household) sing a song she co-wrote with the Civil Wars for The Hunger Games movie called “Safe & Sound”, I was immediately impressed by the simplicity and haunting nature of the song. In fact, I was grateful for the introduction to the Civil Wars who are now one of my favorite folk duos.

Anyway, the song was something of an earworm and I found myself humming it over and over again. It took awhile for me to actually pay close attention to the lyrics… and then it seemed to burrow into my heart.

Since you haven’t heard the song yet, here are the main lyrics of Safe & Sound:

I remember tears streaming down your face
When I said, “I’ll never let you go”
When all those shadows almost killed your light
I remember you said, “Don’t leave me here alone”
But all that’s dead and gone and passed tonight

Just close your eyes
The sun is going down
You’ll be alright
No one can hurt you now
Come morning light
You and I’ll be safe and sound

Don’t you dare look out your window, darling,
Everything’s on fire
The war outside our door keeps raging on
Hold on to this lullaby
Even when music’s gone

Just close your eyes
The sun is going down
You’ll be alright
No one can hurt you now
Come morning light
You and I’ll be safe and sound

Like I said… haunting.

This is one of those songs that will sneak into my ‘shuffle all’ playlist and, on occasion, catch me in a vulnerable moment. When this happens, it inevitably drags up some dark memories with some equally dark feelings trailing behind them.

Memories of experiences you, my younger self, are still living through. Like the nights when you hide in your room, tears streaming down your face, trying to drown out the sound of her yelling at Dad or one of the other kids. Being woken up in the middle of the night to her drunken screaming. Pushing your back against the wall in bed… staring through the dark at the line of light under the door… waiting for the shadow of her feet to pass by… praying she doesn’t burst into the room with that look of maniacal rage and an uncontrollable need to hurt someone. Because you have nowhere to hide. And the belt she uses can reach across the bed no matter how fast you scramble.

To you as a child, this is the war outside your window. Only closing your eyes won’t make it go away. And the light of the morning didn’t mean you were safe.

Her shadow almost killed your light. Until you learned how to lock it away and fight like a beast to protect yourself… hurting others with abandon because you couldn’t afford to feel anything lest she find that hole in your armor and once again, you would have nowhere to hide.

Today, I look back on this and feel such pain for what you went through… and for the people you hurt. Some of them were innocent bystanders who were your target because you needed to feel some kind (any kind) of power. Later, it was the other wounded people who you hurt… other bullies who you bullied because it seemed like justice to you… failing to realize that they were suffering just as much as you.

I ask myself what I could possibly say to you to make you change your ways back then. Honestly, I don’t know. No one could have convinced me that taking off the armor of unfeeling and putting down the weapons of anger, hate, and vengeance could possibly make me stronger. It simply didn’t fit my definition of strength.

Don’t mistake my words, Scrapper… letting go of these defenses won’t make you invulnerable to hurt. But allowing yourself to feel and to connect with others in a way far beyond simple loyalty (as deep as it may be) means one day you will have allies who won’t shy away from your scars.

This process will bring healing… even as painful as the journey will be to return to this place you live in and finally, truly, endure the feelings you are burying beneath your armor. But I will come back for you. And I will never leave you there, alone, again.

This is what will make the light you carry inside safe and sound. Finally.


Leave a Reply