Redemption Song

Old pirates, yes, they rob I
Sold I to the merchant ships
Minutes after they took I
From the bottomless pit
But my hand was made strong
By the hand of the almighty
We forward in this generation
Won’t you help to sing
These songs of freedom?
‘Cause all I ever have
Redemption songs

– Bob Marley

Every single one of us has had misfortune in life.

Many of us have had medical issues. I’m certainly no exception to this, with legal blindness in my right eye, complete deafness in my left ear, and severe hypothyroidism from birth. There were many dreams and opportunities that passed right by me because of those things.

Many of us have had people in our lives who have mistreated us. They’ve held us back from being our best selves and often diverted us down roads that have caused a serious negative impact on our life.

We’ve lost jobs. We’ve fallen into substance abuse. We’ve lost the people we love the most in the world. We’ve fallen into mental illness.

Often, we feel powerless to stop these things. We feel as though we’re held down by the mistakes of the past or by the mental or physical limitations that some aspect of our life has foisted upon us.

Never, ever, ever let these things hold you back from improving your life.

Just because your life has led you to a point that seems difficult doesn’t mean that there’s not an upward route from here. There is always a path to a better place than where you’re at right now.

All of us are broken in some way. All of us have had misfortune, often caused by nature or by the acts of others. All of us have some sort of limitation.

The real question is whether we choose to define ourselves by that limitation or whether we choose to do something better with the gifts that we do have.

I’m deaf in one ear, but I can hear clearly with the other one.

I’m basically blind in one eye, but I can see clearly with the other one.

I have severe hypothyroidism that goes crazy if I miss even a day of my medication, but if I remember to take it every day, things are fine.

I made a bunch of financial mistakes in my earlier days, but I can make better financial choices today to make tomorrow better than today is.

The same thing is true for the personal, professional, and other mistakes I’ve made in my life, of which there are plenty.

I may feel as though I don’t have everything I ought to have in my life, but then I stop and look around. I may not have everything – no one does – but I have a lot of things that I do value. I may not have a perfect family, but I have a wonderful one that I love very much and that I know loves me. I may not have tons of friends, but the ones I do have are incredible. I may not have the perfect career, but I have a good one.

I may have made mistakes, but I can fix them. I may have obstacles, but I can overcome them.

There is always redemption available to us. There is always something better around the corner, provided we’re willing to look at ourselves, put aside our bad habits and routines, and chase something better for ourselves and for the people around us – family, friends, community, the nation, the whole world.

Won’t you help to sing
These songs of freedom?
‘Cause all I ever have
Redemption songs

If you’d like to hear this wonderful song, truly one of my favorites, here’s Bob Marley singing it live:

… as well as a wonderful cover by Manfred Mann’s Earth Band:

… and another great cover by Johnny Cash and Joe Strummer:

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