First and Second Mile Blues

If you’ve come to walk just one mile
And to tell me what you’re taught to say,
Go on home; I’m not gonna listen.
I don’t think you’ve a thing real to say to me.

But if you will walk all the way
And tell me how you really feel,
Have a seat; I’m ready to listen.
I think you might have something real to say.

About this Song:
I was visiting my original in-laws in November of 1979 when the ideas for two songs came to me. This is one of them. What you can’t tell from just looking at the words,  however, is the rhythm was so tricky–so challenging–that I never bothered to write the tune down until 1993.

It was just as much a challenge to play.

I’ll never forget doing a concert at Allen Memorial Baptist Church in Salisbury, Maryland, one Sunday evening closer to 1979 than to now. I was sitting on a stool. “The First & Second Mile Blues” made me so nervous that the guitar bounced up and down on my knee from start to finish, and I’m not sure how many right notes I hit–if any. No wonder I decided never to do that song in public again!

But my friends at the Ashland Convalescent Center are pretty low key and uncritical, and I don’t get as uptight about mistakes as I used to. So a few months ago I chanced doing it for them. It not only went well, they actually seemed to like it.

Enough about that, though.

If you’re familiar with Jesus’ teachings, the idea of voluntarily going the second mile in doing something distasteful rather than just the required first mile–that teaching can be applied to so many aspects of life–then you understand where the idea came from.

You can see why I’ve chosen to pair this song this week with “An Empty Spoon.” Both songs warn people who try to pass their wisdom along to others–epecially if it’s unsought–in a forceful and distasteful way to back off. No wonder we tend to describe people like that as “Bible thumpers” and accuse them of hitting listeners over the head with their Bibles.

They can’t seem to understand that nobody wants to listen to them until they’ve established themselves as genuine examples of what they’re proclaiming. As Christians, that means going the second mile.

If this song has spoken to you, please leave a comment.

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I’ll be back again on Wednesday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, just go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the bottom right.

I have free lead sheets (chords, notes, & words) for many of my songs. To see which ones and print or download any of them (not including today’s), GO HERE.

“As I Come Singing” isn’t my only blog. If you’d like to see “On Aging Gracelessly,” CHECK IT OUT HERE.

Best regards,
Roger

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About Roger E. Bruner

Roger Bruner worked as a teacher, job counselor, and programmer analyst before retiring to write Christian fiction full-time. A guitarist and songwriter, he is active in his church choir, church praise team, and nursing home ministry. Roger also enjoys reading, web design, mission trips, photography, and spending time with his wonderful wife, Kathleen. Roger’s young adult novels, Found in Translation and Lost in Dreams, came out in 2011. The Devil and Pastor Gus just came out, and he has eight unpublished manuscripts.
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