It’s been said that to live is to sorrow; it’s been said that there’s no room for tomorrow; so men stand there and stare at the twilight; and they work out each day as it seems right.
I didn’t know much about Peter Breinholt when I first went to one of his concerts about 15 years ago but it didn’t take long for me to fall in love with his music. His message was so positive and his music just made me feel good about myself and the world.
Oh, I knew you would come so I said; Hallelujah my love and I think now; all this time has been on this road.
I loved the whole concert but my favorite song was the last one he sang called “What About.” The song doesn’t deny that life can be difficult at times but it reminds us of all the wonderful things around us if we just slow down and notice them.
And what about all the September moons; and what about all the flowers in June; and what about all the times that I sit here in wonder.
The song filled me with joy and gratitude and I left the concert feeling wonderful about life. It was obvious listening to Breinholt sing it that he had thought deeply about the things he was grateful for.
And I could be wrong for believing this way; and I could be wrong every hour of each day; and I think about every moment that I can remember.
Years later I had the opportunity to hear Breinholt sing the song in a church meeting. Before singing it he told the story of how he wrote it.
And they say that to silence is worth gold; and they say every young man must grow old; so we work and we reason our times; still it’s quiet all around me here sometimes.
He was a senior in college at the University of Utah and school was stressful. He was also trying to finish up his first album. On top of this he had a job that was a twenty minute drive across the valley. He was feeling overwhelmed and wasn’t looking forward to the commute or his job, neither of which he felt he had time for.
Oh, I knew this would be and I said; there is so much to see and I think now; all this time has been passing by.
He usually listened to the radio on his drive to work, but as he got into his car feeling stressed and uneasy the thought came into his mind that he should turn off the radio and pray as he drove to work.
And what about every wide open field; and what about all the wind that we feel; and what about every holiday song in a small town.
As he started to pray another thought came into his mind. He felt that he shouldn’t pray for any blessings, but should just spend the time thanking God for all of the things he was grateful for.
And what about every child that sleeps; and what about every quiet blue sea; and what about every meadow we take up to lay down.
He spent the entire drive to work expressing his gratitude to God and when he arrived, in what seemed like no time at all, he felt wonderful. All of his stress and worries were gone.
And I think about all the times as a child; when I couldn’t keep from laughing out loud; and to catch myself I would go out and stay there awhile.
Work went great and not wanting to risk losing the fantastic mood he was in he decided to say another prayer of gratitude on the way home. He did the same thing the next day, and the next, and the next.
And what about all the mountains in spring; and what about every choir that sings; and what about every mother that holds a new child.
As I recall he continued this practice of saying a prayer of gratitude during his drive to and from work for two or three months. His life wasn’t perfect during this time but he was much happier and felt less stress. It was during this time that he wrote the song “What About.”
And I could be wrong for believing this way; and I could be wrong every hour of each day; and I think about all the times that I sit here in wonder.
So when you are feeling overwhelmed by life take a lesson from Peter Breinholt. First, listen to this wonderful song, and then say a prayer of gratitude or ponder deeply about the things you are grateful for. You might even want to make your own “What About” list. If you make a habit of doing this you will be happier, less stressed, and life will just go better. Happy Thanksgiving!
I wish I could find a good live version of Breinholt and his band playing “What About” but I couldn’t. However, here is a great audio version. John Schmidt, from The Piano Guys, accompanies Breinholt on this one.
Here is a video of Breinholt singing “What About” accompanied by Lyceum Philharmonic, a youth orchestra.