Social Justice Song of the Week: “Spring to Come” by The John Butler Trio

To all of our excitement, yesterday was the first day of spring, and it sure felt like it. I could not even believe how nice it was yesterday. Without a doubt, it was one of the nicest days of 2014 so far.

What’s the point of spring? According to the dictionary on my computer, one of the definitions of the word “spring” is to “bring about the escape or release of (a prisoner).” Personally, I kind of like this definition. We all know about the reference of “new beginnings” that comes with spring, but I think this definition provides a new and unique, but still similar perspective. To be honest, after these Omaha winters, I practically feel like a prisoner, and days like today, when I can walk down the mall without a coat, I feel like I’ve just made bail.

This week’s song is “Spring to Come” by The John Butler Trio. As always, please listen and then reflect before reading what I have to say about the song.



I think all of us can relate to waiting for spring to come. As I have mentioned, the winter here can be unbearable, and it is incredibly refreshing to have a new beginning. Personally, I find solace in the very end of the song. Butler sings, “Out of the darkness, only light can come. After a lonely long night comes the sun.” I think that this is what spring is all about. After being prisoners to darkness, winter, loneliness, schoolwork, or whatever it might be, there’s always tomorrow. I think that this is an important thing to keep in mind. No matter how bad things might get, we always have hope for tomorrow.

With regard to Cortina, I think that we can find a lot of truth in this song. If not from this song, we can at least take truths from the idea of spring. I know that sometimes it might be hard for us to make it to our service sites every week because we are often prisoners to our schoolwork. However, this is a time of new beginnings and releasing ourselves from those kinds of binds. Perhaps it is good to take a break, become rejuvenated by your service in the community, and then come back to start anew on your schoolwork.

Furthermore, looking at the aspect of loneliness, I think it is important that we work this spring to establish even stronger relationships in the community. In The Cortina Community, and everywhere for that matter, nobody should have to deal with a “lonely long night” that Butler describes. With the end of the semester approaching, please make an effort to reach out to fellow Cortinians, people at your service site, and people all around campus. I will try to do the same, but we all must hold each other to this standard. I hope we can all start anew this spring and remember that “out of the darkness, only light can come.”

-Ben Feiten

Social Justice Songs of the Week: “What If” by Five For Fighting and “Another Man’s Shoes” by Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors

Today I want to focus on perspective. With my last entry, I tried to focus on how we can “be light” for others as members of the Cortina Community. I think that perspective is a really important part of this idea.

This week I have two songs. The first song is “What If” by Five for Fighting. Please listen and reflect and then read about how I think it can relate to Cortina and then close by reflecting to the second song, “Another Man’s Shoes” by Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors.

The lyrics of this song are powerful. The first time I heard it, all I could think was “WOW.” Think about it…

What if I had your heart?
What if you wore my scars?
How would we break down?
What if you were me and what if I were you?

That’s pretty deep. To me, we should keep this in mind as we do service. If we make the service all about ourselves, we can’t truly serve. Instead, we have to keep in mind that the service is all about the people we are serving. If we remember that they have a story, we can sympathize with them and begin to understand the struggles that they might be going through.

Not only should we remember this when doing service, but also everyday when interacting with others. We may not know what another person has seen in their life, what they value, what their dreams are, etc. But keeping an open mind to what they have to say and what they think can help us to grow immensely. For example, maybe the person who frustrates you, annoys you, or won’t leave you alone just needs a friend?

I hope that all of this might sound familiar to the Cortina Community after Sunday’s community time. On Sunday we watched an episode of “30 Days” about immigration. A man was vehemently opposed to illegal immigration, so much so that he worked as a minute man on the border. After living with an illegal immigrant family for 30 days, visiting their family back in Mexico, and seeing their living conditions, he saw their perspective. He understood why they left Mexico for the United States. As we continue this week, I hope that we can all keep in mind that other people have stories and that we should not be so quick to judge. Instead, take a look at life from their perspective. Maybe walk a mile in their shoes


-Ben Feiten

Social Justice Song of the Week: “I Will Be Light” by Matisyahu

As students at a Jesuit institution, I think it is safe to say that we have all heard a lot about the Jesuit Pillars. Everyone always talks about Men and Women for and with others, Magis, and Cura Personalis. I first heard about these pillars at my Jesuit high school and I loved them so much that I continued on to a Jesuit University. Over the years, I’ve learned about the connection between each pillar and how each one helps to fulfill the others. With this said, in the past year I have grown to greatly appreciate one particular pillar in this regard. “Finding God in All Things” has helped me to appreciate God in everything and better understand the other Jesuit Pillars. If I can find God in everything I encounter, I can be a better man for others, care for the whole person, etc.

Upon reflecting on this, I came up with the idea to start a semester long series for the Cortina Community called “Social Justice Song of the Week.” This will focus on finding God in everything around us. Specifically, I will be writing one or more pieces each week that focus on how I find God in music and the messages I take from it. I hope that this experience can help bring me and my fellow Cortinians closer to God, find Him in our service, and begin to think critically about how we bring God into our weekly service and daily lives. The first song I have chosen to write about is “I Will Be Light” by Matisyahu. Please listen and reflect on the lyrics and then read on to see how I think this connects.

I think everyone has the potential to “be light.” As members of the Cortina Community, it is our job to see the light in others and let it shine in them. However, how do we “be light”? To be a light for others, we have to love. This doesn’t mean we have to take someone out to a candle lit dinner. I’m talking about the ultimate, agapic love. Of course, that’s not easy. But we can make small steps toward this goal by doing things as simple as smiling or listening. When we are at our service sites, some of the people really just enjoy having a person to talk to. By being that person who listens, smiles, and helps however we can, we are being a light for the people we serve.

As we go forth to our service sites, I hope that we can each think about how we are being a light to the people at our sites and, in fact, how they are being a light for us. I started with this song to set the tone for the rest of the semester. I hope that with each song I post that everyone can enjoy them and see how they can take lessons from them to be a light for others.

-Ben Feiten