When asked about the song, “I’m Gonna Be (500 miles)”, Craig Reid of the Proclaimers said, “I reckon I wrote the whole thing in 45 minutes”. It is rather ironic that a song expressing extreme commitment, “And if I grow-old, well I know I’m gonna be. I’m gonna be the man who’s growing old with you,” was written in less than an hour! At first glance, it seems almost unfair, like a God-given miracle, but in reality, Craig Reid did not write that song in 45 minutes.
Craig, and his twin brother Charles, were born on March 5, 1962. During their adolescent years they dove into music forming several punk rock bands prior to the advent of The Proclaimers in 1983. The song “I’m Gonna Be” was not written until 1987. Craig had been writing and performing music for years in preparation for a moment of incredible creativity. Technically, the song was written in 45 minutes, but in reality, all of the experience, preparation and practice set him up for this moment in time.
We live in a Hollywood culture where the struggle can be glazed over in a montage in order to move the audience to the moments of elation. These moments of amazement are more often than not portrayed as some sort of transcendent epiphany that can only be obtained by people with almost supernatural giftings. It leads us “common folk” to throw our hands in the air and say “Oh well”. Or worse, we blame God that he didn’t create us with such talents and giftings. What gets left out of the movie adaption, or the romanticized version of the story, is the long journey that lead to the “miraculous” point of discovery.
In reality, the chorus of Craig Reid’s masterpiece is most fitting and rather apropos to the real journey of life. A worthwhile discovery takes time, effort and a certain level of grit. In order to get to the mountain top, we must walk the 500 miles and then 500 more. And if we don’t, well, we will never truly know what might have been.