Let not the happenings of the world sadden you. I swear by God! The sea of joy yearneth to attain your presence, for every good thing hath been created for you, and will, according to the needs of the times, be revealed unto you. – Baha’u’llah, as quoted in The Advent of Divine Justice, p. 82
I love Andy Grammer’s music—and not simply because he’s a fellow Baha’i (although that’s definitely cool). I’m a fan because he discusses everyday topics that affect us all, and he does so with catchy lyrics, great beats, and an uplifting message.
Recently, I experienced a challenging week, and lost my usual sense of contentment and optimism. Let’s face it: I felt gloomy.
While riding in the car, my husband—an expert at distracting me from my gloominess—flipped on the radio, and a familiar melody started playing. The song, Andy Grammer’s “Keep your Head Up,” instantly snapped me back to a more positive mindset.
In his song (which you can watch the video for below), Andy sings about being optimistic and hopeful, and continuing to move forward despite the challenges life throws at you.
In the beginning of the song, for example, he mentions the day-to-day struggles many of us face:
I’ve been waiting on the sunset
Bills on my mindset
I can’t deny they’re getting high
Higher than my income
Income’s bread crumbs
I’ve been trying to survive
Andy’s song adds that, despite the stress of paying the bills, there are positives we can focus on, and a hope for the future that we can think about and anticipate:
The glow that the sun gets
Right around sunset
Helps me realize
This is just a journey
Drop your worries
You are gonna turn out fine.
Later in the song, Andy sings about the recurring cycle of ups and downs in life:
Only rainbows after rain
The sun will always come again
It’s a circle, circling,
Around again, it comes around again…
But you gotta keep your head up….
“Keep your head up” implies that the challenges we face in this life are often beyond our control, and every cycle of challenges inevitably produces positive experiences—much like the phenomenon of a rainbow appearing after a rainstorm:
O ye beloved of God! When the winds blow severely, rains fall fiercely, the lightning flashes, the thunder roars, the bolt descends and storms of trial become severe, grieve not; for after this storm, verily, the divine spring will arrive, the hills and fields will become verdant, the expanses of grain will joyfully wave, the earth will become covered with blossoms, the trees will be clothed with green garments and adorned with blossoms and fruits. Thus blessings become manifest in all countries. These favors are results of those storms and hurricanes.
The discerning man rejoiceth at the day of trials, his breast becometh dilated at the time of severe storms, his eyes become brightened when seeing the showers of rain and gusts of wind, whereby trees are uprooted; because he foreseeth the result and the end, the leaves, blossoms and fruits; while the ignorant person becometh troubled when he seeth a storm, is saddened when it raineth severely, is terrified by the thunder and trembleth at the surging of the waves which storm the shores. – Abdu’l-Baha, Baha’i World Faith, p. 395.
To sum it up, if we remain positive and keep plugging away, we can be assured that happier times are most likely on their way. Grammer’s song simply but profoundly summarizes what Baha’is believe about life’s challenges. Specifically, Baha’is believe that tests and difficulties make us stronger and aid our spiritual growth. Along these lines, Abdu’l-Baha said:
Men who suffer not, attain no perfection. The plant most pruned by the gardeners is that one which, when the summer comes, will have the most beautiful blossoms and the most abundant fruit. – Paris Talks, p. 50.
In other words, continuing with the analogy of gardening, these trials and tribulations we experience essentially remove our character flaws (i.e., our weeds) and pave the way for our virtues and strengths (or our flowers) to bloom. Everyone goes through this cycle of life’s good and bad days, or periods of highs and lows:
May you bear these trials and tests most willingly and joyously, for every night is followed by a day, and every day has a night. Every spring has an autumn, and every autumn has its spring. – Abdu’l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 54.
Next time you’re feeling down, think about how fleeting those challenges typically are, and how things tend to work out. Think about how strong you become when you make it through those tough times, and the confidence you feel when you’ve accomplished a challenging task. Above all, be hopeful that better times are coming just around the corner—and don’t forget to keep your head up.