only us after all


Only Us After All

Paul McCartney once recalled an especially heated disagreement he had with John Lennon. The two were not just songwriting partners and frontmen of the biggest band in the world, they were also old friends. John and Paul were as close as brothers and often fought like it.

Paul remembered a particular argument in which he was getting angrier and angrier, until John finally said, “Okay, Paul, calm down.” Lennon lowered his famously round glasses by the bridge to the edge of his nose, leaned in to look Paul in the eye, and said, “It’s only me after all.” The act completely disarmed Paul; this was his boyhood friend. McCartney admits that, as a fiery young man, he often fought so hard for whatever case he was making that he could completely miss the person right in front of him. On that day, John kept him from doing it again.

Whether right or wrong in one’s actual stance, we are always wrong to overlook the humanity of the one with whom we disagree.

That was the lesson McCartney learned as a young man. It is a lesson, I believe, our world needs to learn now more than ever. It seems each day brings a new divisive topic, a new line drawn in the sand, complete with opposing camps already fully formed, people whose heels are already dug in. I confess, my first thought is often, “Wait. We’re supposed to take a stance on this topic?”

I started this song one day as I was daydreaming about how I wish I could respond when pressed on any number of controversial issues–by declaring “I don’t know” and that being enough. I mean, I may be in the minority here, but most of the time I really don’t know.

With that thought in mind, I remembered McCartney’s story of John’s disarming words, “It’s only me after all,” and had most of the first verse done and a solid concept of the chorus. The third verse came fairly quickly as well and contained what I consider the thesis statement of the song. So, I felt close. However, the second verse was a hard one; I wrote a half-dozen different versions. I also wrote multiple iterations of the bridge. It took me months, but I finally finished the song about a week ago. Or maybe it isn’t finished yet? I don’t know.

I think the struggle is that I have so many thoughts on the topic, so much I want to say. This song certainly does not say everything. It is really just an upbeat, optimistic, maybe even a tad naive, call to a better way. And it expresses my simple belief, the lesson Lennon taught McCartney, and the absolutely foundational Christian truth** that people are always more important than positions and nothing matters more than how we treat our fellow human beings.

**READ: Matthew 7:12-21; 1 Corinthians 13:1-7; James 2:14-26; 1 John 3:11-16, 23; 1 John 4:7-12, 20-21



Let me be honest with you
I don’t know and neither do you
and that’s okay
No one knows as much as they say

Hold your breath,
you’ll soon turn blue
Close your mind,
you’ll starve for truth
You might say no
That’s okay, though,
cause what do I know

Oh, let’s be kind
with every one and all
Let’s be generous
cause it’s only us after all

I’d love to talk and not draw lines
Disagree but not divide
Is that okay?
Seems like we all got
enough on our plates

Sticks and stones,
they may break bones
but words are weapons all their own
We all bear scars
from the wounds words
have left on our hearts

Oh, let’s be kind
There is no higher call
Let’s be generous
cause it’s only us after all

Every neighbor, friend, and foe
fights a fight that I will never know

I believe Father, Son, Holy Ghost
and to love well is the narrow road
…to love well is the narrow road
…and to keep the pace
through the unknown

So, let’s be kind
with every precious soul
Let’s be generous
cause it’s only us after all



Words & Music: Bill Wolf
Bass Guitar: Cole Creasy