Songwriting ideas strike differently every time. This song trigger isn’t particularly unique, but some interesting things happened along the writing process that made for kind of a plot twist.
A few years back, I was on a tractor getting to an orchard with some family and friends. That particular year, I was a little late in the picking season, and quickly took note of how most of the trees were bare on the bottom—the only parts I could reach as someone of 5’3.5”. The upper parts of the trees were full, and the apples were bright red. As usual, my mind drifted, and I had this ‘sad girl’ moment. I was thinking about how on average, people take what’s easy and accessible. Once more work and effort is required, people tend to give up. That is what triggered the first part of my lyrics:
‘I picked the apple from the apple tree
The highest point where the better ones tend to be
It’s really hard but it’s worth the climb
People like ME are one of a kind’
My original lyrics were about myself, but that quickly changed, and the final lyric ended up being ‘YOU’.
Around this time, one of my closest friends had come to faith and was getting baptized. I guess I could say that for many years, despite believing, I had pushed away from church for various reasons. My friend was the catalyst for me going back to church. I finally found one that felt right for me, and my ‘spiritual awakening’ changed the course of the song and lyrics.
‘Up the ladder here we go
To the highest highs and the lowest lows
Through the darkest nights and the brightest days
I reach for you, like lovers do
I picked the apple from the apple tree
Red and sweet, full of love, how you are to me
I know I’ve sinned please forgive me
There’s no one better out there than you for me
You’re there to answer when I call
You catch me every time I fall
You love me more than words can say
You help me rise in trying times
You let me be myself and I
Will love you every single day’
The story took shape as I started to realize that even though I had pushed away from church, and lived through some incredibly difficult situations, HE never turned his back on me; even when I thought HE had. So, the lyrics not only described this revelation I had; but, they were also a reminder for myself; even though I don’t always feel the spiritual presence, that’s where faith is tested.
I frequently feel like I can’t live up to the lyrics. I fall off the wagon daily; doubt things, feel abandoned or like a failure. But I know all of it is normal; and, that at the end of the day, my heart is in the right place to want to do better and to keep trying.
Not everyone can or will relate to this, and that’s ok. Regardless of what belief system or values you have, the moral I’d like to leave with people is this: Take the extra step in life to be better, achieve better, do better. Reach higher, not out of entitlement, but for growth. While all those things are hard, continue to believe and persevere. If you chase and earn things of worth, you will find some calm in your storms. There is light ahead.