Sufjan Stevens has a habit of writing songs about religion, and unlike many songs about religion by modern musicians, they have a tendency to be pretty good. While many musicians and fans may shy away of making their connection between themselves and their faith known, Stevens is one of the few who unashamedly makes his faith known. However, he also makes it clear that he wants to separate his music from his beliefs, something I feel to be rather honourable.
The basis for this song is a relatively simple, yet immensely personal tale of a good friend of Stevens’ who was diagnosed with bone cancer. Before and after this friend dies, Stevens has a crisis of faith, yet the final line seems to imply that this whole scenario has brought Stevens closer to God, as somewhat of a modern day Job.
As with many of Stevens’ songs, this track is written so specifically for a unique situation in his life, yet the message and feelings that he conveys throughout make the entire scenario completely relatable for anyone else who has lost someone close and/or had a crisis of faith.
From listening to this song countless times, I feel that I can’t do any justice in explaining what this song is about, nor how one should feel while listening to it. Rather, I would suggest letting this song speak for itself.