Relish Carloyn Arends’ ‘I Am A Soul’ This Thanksgiving

by Sister Julie Ann on November 23, 2009

arendsgreenbuilding1.jpgIf you enjoy the abundance of God’s encompassing love and have an appetite for wonder and reverence about the nature of the human person, we, the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity, invite you to savour Carolyn Arend’s ‘I Am A Soul’ this Thanksgiving season.

Invitation: see Carolyn ‘live’ at Cup O Joy, Green Bay, WI on December 5, 2009.

Carolyn and Arlan Feiles’ ‘I Wonder’ unite this month on Franciscanized World to provide a menu of timely thoughtfulness. You’ll want to listen to both artists.

Carolyn’s Notes on I AM A SOUL

My duo partner Spencer and I were sandwiched into a window and middle seat on a flight across Canada.  In the coveted aisle seat was a man heartily enjoying a book by one of the “New Atheists” – I can’t remember if it was by Dawkins or maybe Hitchens.  (Let’s call it “Ditchkins”.)

Spencer is never one to turn down a good conversation so he started chatting this fellow up.  It turned out he was a thoughtful professor of something or another who was convinced that no case could be made for any existence beyond this material world.  Pretty soon all three of us were in a lively discussion about synapses and neurons and whether there was any reality beyond that which can be built from molecules. 

I found myself stymied.  How does one argue for Transcendence without just sort of mumbling about beauty and art and hunches and instincts? 

You know how, when you lose an argument, a thought comes into your head an hour or a day later and you think THAT’S what I should have said?  “I Am a Soul” is what I should have said.  I wrote it a few days after the airplane conversation, and if I can ever track that professor down, I’ll thank him for the inspiration!


Carolyn Arends is releasing her 10th album and is the author of 2 critically-acclaimed books.  15 of Arends’ songs have become top 10 radio singles on the Canadian pop and US Christian charts.  Arends has earned 2 Dove Awards, 3 Juno Nominations, and was recognized as the West Coast Music Awards’ Songwriter of the Year.

carolyn.jpgCarolyn’s newest project, Love Was Here First, features 10 new Carolyn originals and a reinterpretation of the classic gospel tune “Standing in the Need of Prayer.”  New musical twists like vocals from the 3-man gospel group The Sojourners and a crackling horn section surprise and delight, but what’s really on display here is the lyrical prowess of a master songwriter passionate about her subject–the encompassing love of God.


Invitation:  See Carolyn ‘live’ at Cup O Joy, Green Bay, WI on December 5, 2009.

I Am A Soul Lyrics

Molecules and atoms, just like Eve and Adam

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust

Even still I wonder – when we are six feet under

Will that truly be the end of us

‘Cause why beauty, why poetry

Why “no! no! no!” to every tragedy

Why laughter, why lullabies

And why this asking why

I have a body, but I am a soul

I see a fraction, it’s not the whole

I cannot prove it, but still I know

I have a body … I am a soul

A sculpture or a canvas can speak a private language

Telling secrets hidden in the heart

About a world of spirit – I swear sometimes I hear it

Playing like a piper in the dark

It’s in love songs, in symphonies

In funeral marches and in liturgies

It’s in whispers, in rally cries

In dreams that won’t say die

You have a body but you are a soul

You see a fraction, it’s not the whole

I cannot prove it, but still I know

You have a body … you are a soul

World without end, amen


© 2009 Running Arends Music/ASCAP

Phil Robertson: drums

Adrian Walther: bass

Roy Salmond: electric guitar, organ, keybords, tambourine, backing vocals

Spencer Capier: electric and archtop guitars

Carolyn Arends: acoustic guitar, backing vocals

Word Without End: The Not Bad Singers


Any comments on ‘I Am A Soul’?

12 thoughts on “Relish Carloyn Arends’ ‘I Am A Soul’ This Thanksgiving”

  1. Sister Julie Ann says:

    A bit of a philosophical song, Carolyn’s lyrics plead for a clear awareness of God’s presence everywhere, at all times and in everyone and everything. A contemplative soul finds comfort not in ready made answers but in a desire to reach out in the darkness…’Most High, glorious God, enlighten the darkness of my heart (soul)…’

  2. Sister Carol Juckem says:

    Listening to Carolyn’s song made my spirit soar. I really identified with it. How does one prove what can not be seen? Yet I know it’s true. I am more than meets the eye. I have a soul, a spirit that is far beyond this body I am in. My personality, my sense of humor, just the way I approach life shows that there is a spark of life in me that is beyond this world. It’s my soul meeting the Spirit of God and pouring forth new life wherever I go. Alleluia! Great song! Thanks, Carolyn! Gratefully, Sister Carol

  3. joanne Hordyk says:

    Yeah – she just does it everytime again.
    While I listen, the words of Ecc.3:11 pop up again!…. God has placed eternity in our hearts — an idea that has fascinated me for many years. Carolyn has pulled out several other great songs from introspection on that theme.
    My soul thanks God for your gifts so wonderfully employed.

  4. Sister Julie Ann says:

    Thanks, Joanne, for being a faithful fan of Carolyn, but even more so someone who is very aware of God’s presence within the depths of the human soul.

  5. Sister Anne says:

    I too, really liked the song. Carolyn does well expressiong what is rather inexpressible! But it is a truth that we all know, if we give ourselves the space and time to listen to our soul – to our true selves where God speaks and dwells with us. Sister Carol, you said it much better than I am…ditto to everything you wrote!

  6. Sister Anne, you had some uniquely you thoughts as well that are part of the whole of this dialogue on Carolyn’s song. Thanks Sisters for adding to the conversation.

  7. Heather Knechtel says:

    Once again you have thrown the ball back into the court of the opponent. WELL DONE! I wish you would have written this back at Trinity, when I was pestering poor Dr. Wiebe about the mind/body problem.
    Thank you for another wonderful picture of something both simple and complex. You rock, babe!

  8. Mark T says:

    I have been a fan of Carolyn for years…and her music has had a special place in my heart because not only does it sing in awe, wonder, and praise of God (all good things), but adds to the typical Christian repertoire music about the day to day struggles of trying to be a faithful follower of God, and the joys and sorrows of that journey.
    The one thing that strikes me – I have just been reflecting on the Catechism and Theology of the Body, in response to some literature that was handed to me – they speak of the indivisibility of body and soul; how we are created for both a body and a soul, and how our identity, and our reflection of our Creator, is found in both. So I suppose, in reading the lyrics, the one thought that sprang to mind was…I AM a body, I am a soul.

  9. Heather and Mark,we appreciate your taking the time to find our site and comment.
    Thanks for also inviting us to not only play Carolyn’s great song over and over, but to do further study and reflection after reading important resources regarding the unity of body and soul in the human person.

  10. Kara Martin says:

    I have spent a good portion of my semester learning how to use reason to argue for the existence of God, in my philosophy class. Yet Carolyn’s argument wraps up why I believe in God better than any philosopher can. Matters of the soul and matters of the mind are inseparable, but there are something things that the soul knows that the mind cannot understand. There is no human language for it.

  11. Kara, thanks for commenting on Carolyn’s song which trys to answer the ‘whys’ of life. God bless your search for truth.

  12. Robbie says:

    I am a recent Carolyn Arends fan, and was captivated by this song as well as “never say goodbye”on her “love was here first” album. I picked up this album and they Barnabas family ministries retreat on Keats island. This is such a great blend of mystery and music that transports me into a spiritual realm that proves to me that life is so much bigger than what my five senses apprehend. kudos, Carolyn– and praise God!

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