Why do I? (from Under Southern Stars)

Why do I

Why do I

Why do I

Why do I

Always see sadness

Always see pain

Always see people out in the rain

Looking for shelter

Looking for trees to climb

Sometimes I wish that my heart was blind

Look at the soldiers brandish their guns

Why do the strong and powerful ones survive

Sometimes I wish that my heart was blind

But I wouldn’t be the man I am

If I didn’t feel the way I do

And I’d have failed to hold you close to me

when you were hurting too

I recall

Yes, I recall

I recall

Times I’ve been crying

Times on my own

Times when I’ve felt so cold and alone

Waiting for morning

Longing for the day to come

Sometimes I wish that my heart was stone

You saw me crying

You saw my pain

You saw me standing out in the rain alone

Sometimes I wish that my heart was stone

But I wouldn’t be the man I am

If I didn’t feel the way I do

And I’d have failed to let you love me

when I was hurting too.

I composed the song ‘Why do I?’ in response to a boy in Year 11 when I was teaching at Roncalli

College, Timaru in 1986. He presented me with a list of all the things that troubled and concerned him. I was struck by the fact that he took the time to share his difficulties in such a way. He obviously felt things very deeply. I wonder now how things turned out for him.

I used this song with the boys that attended our Youth Alive programme in the 90’s and remember another friend who I got to know some years after the fact how the song had supported him through a tough period in his life. He had grown up in a boy’s home and would often climb a tree on the property to spend time alone with his thoughts. He was particularly struck by the line ‘looking for shelter, looking for trees to climb’.

This week I was listening to a distressing interview on National Radio regarding the treatment of a woman at the Auckland Region Women’s Prison who had been in solidarity confinement for four months which a judge has found was unlawful. It could be considered psychological torture.

I commend the media when they uncover and report on injustice like this in order for someone to be held accountable and to ensure a positive change in the system. We cannot be blind or silent when it comes to such behaviour. Thanks to those who have spoken up and supported this woman in her pain and suffering.


In the light of today’s Gospel taken from Mark 9:2-10 we hear that Jesus is God’s Son, the Beloved. We too are beloved sons and daughters of God no matter what our circumstances are. All of us deserve respect and to have our dignity upheld.


Listen to "Why Do I" from the album "Under Southern Stars".

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