An old song for a hurting heart.

I find it very difficult to understand and appreciate poetry. Most of the time, the words just don’t speak to me. I have great difficulty appreciating the book of Psalms.

However, once a melody is given to a poem, it comes alive for me. I think it’s because, if the music is paired well with the words, the music helps to explain to me what emotions were going through the writers as they penned the words.

Just over the past two weeks, I had been struggling to define the agonising feeling that I had been experiencing but unable to articulate. Then this morning, the lyrics of An Innocent Man by Billy Joel popped into my mind. Billy Joel once explained that he penned down the words to this song while being stuck in a hotel during a snowstorm, hence the lyrics begin with him staying far away from the door in his hotel room.

An Innocent Man

Some people stay far away from the door
If there’s a chance of it opening up
They hear a voice in the hall outside
And hope that it just passes by

Some people live with the fear of a touch
And the anger of having been a fool
They will not listen to anyone
So nobody tells them a lie

I know you’re only protecting yourself
I know you’re thinking of somebody else
Someone who hurt you

But I’m not above
Making up for the love
You’ve been denying you could ever feel
I’m not above doing anything
To restore your faith if I can

Some people see through the eyes of the old
Before they ever get look at the young
I’m only willing to hear you cry
Because I am an innocent man
Oh yes I am

Some people say they will never believe
Another promise they hear in the dark
Because they only remember too well
They heard somebody tell them before

Some people sleep all alone every night
Instead of taking a lover to bed
Some people find that’s it’s easier to hate
Than to wait anymore
I know you don’t want to hear what I say
I know you’re gonna keep turning away
But I’ve been there and if I can survive
I can keep you alive
I’m not above going through it again
I’m not above being cool for a while
If you’re cruel to me I’ll understand

Some people run from a possible fight
Some people figure they can never win
And although this is a fight I can lose
The accused is an innocent man
Oh yes I am
An innocent man

You know you only hurt yourself out of spite
I guess you’d rather be a martyr tonight
That’s your decision
But I’m not below
Anybody I know
If there’s a chance of resurrecting a love
I’m not above going back to the start
To find out where the heartache began

Some people hope for a miracle cure
Some people just accept the world as it is
But I’m not willing to lay down and die
Because I am an innocent man


I just love this song, I loved it the first time I heard it years ago and this morning, as I heard the song again, I found the lyrics still so personal and so true for me. It feels nice to know that someone out there in the world understands how I feel; just knowing that made me feel less lonely. It’s like a modern “psalm” to me.

Sometimes, I am the innocent man, sometimes, I am the person the innocent man is singing about. This morning, I interpreted it as God singing it to me and that unlike the original lyrics which state in the last two lines “But I’m not willing to lay down to die because I am an innocent man”, God did exactly that for me.

If you have never heard the song before, here you go. You can skip the first minute of the clip as it has a long introduction.