you will get your due


I got my last Christmas present Saturday night. It was the best one.

Over the past few years, Ginger has given me gifts that are to be experienced rather than collected. Two years ago, she gave me an icon painting class, which led to my friendship with Christopher Gosey, as well as bringing new layers to both my artistic and spiritual journeys. Last year, it was a mosaic class. In early December, she told me she couldn’t find any good classes this year and she was going to have to think of something else.

She did – and she gave me one of the best gifts ever: tickets to a house concert to hear Diane Zeigler.

In 1995, Diane released The Sting of the Honeybee, an album (OK, a CD) I picked up at Tower records because she covered “Millworker” by James Taylor. I had no idea what a gem I had found, and how fortunate I was the music had found me.

In 1995, we were living in Charlestown, an urban neighborhood of Boston. I was teaching English at Charlestown High School. I loved the kids, but the bureaucracy and the burned out lifers in the system were taking their toll on me. In those days, I described how it felt in these words: everyday, while I was in the building, part of me died; when I came home, I had until the following morning to bring myself back to life, but not all of me was revived. I was also struggling because I had been saying for a long time I wanted to be a writer, but I wasn’t finding – or making – much time to write. In those days, I was co-writing songs with my friend, Billy Crockett, but we were half a country apart, so I couldn’t give myself fully to that either. Knowing what I know now about my depression, I can look back on those days and see I was sinking and did not know it. I was a man with dreams that felt as if they were mostly on life support. And then, on this wonderful record, I found this song:

(diane zeigler)

there’s a man that I don’t know well
but I’ve seen the way he cast his spell
straight across a room until the people had to listen
he was singing from a quiet place
and you could only hear the faintest trace
that he wonders if he’ll ever taste the kiss of recognition

but you will get your due
you will get your due
believe that there is so much more
even if it’s not right here at your door
and you will get your due.

I want to call him friend
because I love the way he works that pen
and spinning stories seems to be his true devotion
but he says he’s gonna pack it in
because he doesn’t see it rolling in
he thinks that ship is somewhere lost out on the ocean

but you will get your due
you will get your due
believe that there is so much more
even if it’s not right here at your door
and you will get your due.

I know you want to leave it behind
but it’s all there in your mind
and you can no more stop the songs
than stop your breathing
I can’t tell you how it’s gonna end
I know the lucky ones sometimes win
but not before they’ve paid a price
for all their dreaming

but you will get your due
you will get your due
believe that there is so much more
even if it’s not right here at your door
and you will get your due.

I don’t know how many times I have listened to her sing those words, or I have sung them myself. A decade later, I’m working two jobs, still working on being a writer, and am somewhat of a survivor of my own Great Depression. So when a random mailing came from Diane, based on a list I signed at a concert about seven years ago, Ginger did some very cool detective work and gave me an amazing gift of love: an evening of hope and healing.

I had never been to a house concert before. Laura and Neal, who run Fox Run House Concerts, basically tore apart their home and put it back together again where forty or so people can gather and share an evening of music together. We all brought snacks and stood around in the kitchen and dining room until it was time to be the audience. Seated on couches and dining room chairs, we listened, laughed, and sang along. After the show I even had a chance to tell Diane how her song had accompanied me. She, Ginger, and I talked for a long time and found a resonance that went well beyond a decade-old recording.

One of the most insidious lies depression tells is no one understands and no one is really listening: you are all alone, so there’s no point in speaking up.

I touched the truth Saturday night, hearing Diane sing the song in a living room full of people who came to be reminded that we are not by ourselves. The real gift for me was more than being at the concert. It was being there sitting next to the woman who has told me to believe there is so much more everyday I have known her and who incarnates Love to me more than anyone I know.

It was a great Christmas.


P.S. Dave Crossland opened for Diane. He’s got some great stuff!


  1. Milton:

    Thanks for a beautiful, poignant post. Steve Earle’s songwriting often holds that kind of healing for me: I listen to “Jerusalem” over and over again when the news makes me feel angry and helpless.

    Glad you are feeling better — I came over on the reallivepreacher’s recommendation and I’m very glad I did. I’m trying out your recipe for molasses basted pork roast tonight. (I’m taking license, no tenderloin.).

    Happy MLK Day. We have been to the mountaintop and glimpsed the Promised Land!

    Peace, B.

  2. File this in the “small world” category: Back when I was trying to discern whether I was called to be a historic preservationist or a priest, I met Christopher Gosey (nee Donald Gosey) at my first Interfaith Forum on Religion Art and Architecture conference in Boston-1989. He were in touch for a few years and he spoke of his desire to begin writing icons. I’ll have to get in touch with him, but thanks for bringing back that memory!

  3. Steve Earle is the man! What an amazing songwriter. If you come across his biography, HARD CORE TRUBADOR, read it.

    Jennifer, I will talk to Chris this week. You can see some of his stuff at I added the link to my post. He does not check email there. but you can see some of what he’s been doing.

    Gordon — I hope you liked the song. You can also download it at her website.


  4. Here’s an idea. RLP and Milton get together at their friend’s place in Wimberley, catch up for a couple of days and then host a writing and/or/cooking/music/art retreat for all us pilgrims who haven’t taken the plunge of believing that it’s okay with God if we take some time to enjoy ourselves artistically, or have just dipped a toe in.

    Just an idea. I know I’d come.


  5. Came over from RLP. Enjoy your blog. Also, thanks for the music recommendation. Diane’s voice, music, and lyrics are wonderful. I just downloaded the album. Ditto on Steve Earle. My husband and I watched his ACL 1986 concert this weekend on DVD. It was great fun.

  6. When I looked at your profile, I saw we also share a love for Kasey Chambers and Patty Griffin. Patty’s music is another one of those indistinguishable lights in the darkness for me.


Leave a Reply