Yes, I am aware of how corporate that sounds.
But think about it for a minute, in general terms. Have you ever been confused about something, truly wanted to understand and do the right thing (either morally or functionally or socially, doesn't matter), but had no clue how to go about it? Have you ever had someone at a crucial moment offer some insight or guidance, some inside information or some process knowledge that really helped you get on track, or bridged the gap of understanding between you when you were unable to do so? Sure, we'd all like to be capable and confident all the time, but there will always be situations or environments in which we're completely at a loss. So it's great if someone can see you are struggling and lend a hand - to connect the dots for you.
Some people find connecting the dots for others to be intrusive, some people feel that everyone should sink or swim on their own, some people can't be bothered to find out if help is wanted or needed, some people are struggling themselves and can't help anyone else, some people withhold help because no one ever did them any favors, some people won't help because they are afraid of making things worse, and some people don't help others unless there is something in it for them. There are plenty of reasons not to help, if anything because it is easier to do nothing if it isn't your problem.
I mentioned in a previous blog that I had noticed a theme in Magne's poetry and lyrics about help and support. In that context I happened to be quoting poems where the subject seems resistant to help from others, or where there is a sense that some people can be ingenuine or selfish when offering help. In that way I think the poems have a very realistic and honest tone, and I am sure many people can relate to both of those responses.
But I don't want to just leave it at that, because the opposite is true too. Not only is there also gratitude for help and support, but the subject often voices concern or advice for others. One of my favorite examples of this is 'Who convinced you':
who convinced you
that you were worth so little
who sold you the story
that your shares
and made you sell short
If I could beat sense
into a head
yours would be
my first choice
(Magne's original post on myspace | my previous blog about this poem)
'A dot of black' is full of the same kind of blunt yet caring expressions. Here the subject is willing to connect the dots for someone else, and is willing to be as honest as they have to be - honesty is one of the true hallmarks of friendship - while offering advice and encouragement.
From 'The longest night':
'learn from my mistake'
'it will be alright'
'they can't touch what lies within'
From 'Time and place':
'there's a time and place for everything
for the battles that you cannot win'
From 'More than good enough':
- pretty much the whole song
From 'Too far too fast':
'drop your guard just one more time
and then I'll set you free'
From 'Watch this space':
'but watch this space
one of these days
I will make sense of it
and put things
in their right place'
It is not always easy to be the help and support someone needs. There have been times when I have been so lucky to have someone around who realized I needed help and took the time to get me on track. When I don't know where I stand, I tend to shut down and become unreachable, which actually makes it seem like I don't want or need help. So I am very grateful when someone sees past that and has the patience and concern to put the pieces together for me. And as far as I am able, I try to be that kind of friend too.
Anyway, the friendship implied in these lyrics must be a very strong one, and that's probably why I love the album so much. As with 'who convinced you', it is not always easy to be the supportive one, if someone isn't aware of their true value or doesn't realize they are more than good enough. But in the end that kindness will eventually break through and make a difference.