I had started the Composer and the Composed series a few years ago as an exploration into what makes us who we are. What is it that comprises us and, subsequently, what and how dos hat contribute to what we then compose?

Give and Take is the next step into this line of thought as I put myself into the shoes of past versions of myself and see through the eyes of younger, more tortured iterations of my emotional progression. I look at the pain and the passion and the anguish as well as the possibility, the promise, and the purpose that made itself known and that, at times, gave me the strength to carry on.

This piece focuses on love. On how, when nurtured, it can lead to incredible and unforeseen growth. Life flourishes, colors brighten, otherwise mundane articles in our daily lives take on new meaning and definition. It’s the rhythm in our hearts and the air in our lungs. But, without putting in the work to cultivate this newfound definition of all that is, love can be divisive. It can serve as the very thing, now poisoned and toxic, that can drive us apart—Killing what was and eliminating the possibility of what could be.

Our lives, our love, is composed of giving and taking. It’s balance. And just like keeping a plant from death and encouraging its growth upward and outward can be a struggle to balance the right amounts of exposure to certain elements. Too much one way might mean certain death. It takes a steady hand. But more than that, it takes purpose. It takes the will to carry on through trials and temptations—knowing that on the other side of all of the battles and storms and barriers, something greater resides.

Love is who we are. It’s what we’re made of and what we return to. Balance the give and the take. Meditate on the composer of this great orchestration as well as the composed—us, the notes on the staff, existing in various rhythms, octaves, and harmonic partnerships. It’s all a song. A dance. A living ecosystem beyond our wildest imagination. It’s all balance.


  • Transition – Give and Take
  • Dustin Kensrue – What Beautiful Things
  • This Day & Age – Always Straight Ahead
  • Copeland – Ordinary