A week or two before Michael went into the hospital, I had received an advertisement of an upcoming songwriter weekend, to be led by one of my favorite songwriters, Jonatha Brooke. It was to be held in Nashville, and its closer proximity caught my attention! I had wanted to attend one of these for a while, but they are usually quite far, even as far as Italy. Mike decided then that this would be the year that we could swing the expense, and for my early Christmas present, he gave me this special gift — to attend this intimate songwriter event in March 2016. Minutes rapidly turned into months.

March 2016. Grief was heavy, and we were in the thick of it with school and our moving details, but I kept my commitment to go. I arrived in Nashville to write songs through raw heartbreak and brokenness. I didn’t feel like I had much to offer. But I was there. And that, in itself, was success.

The event was more than I’d hoped. Each day, the attendees were slotted with 45-minutes to one-hour time slots, in which we were to present original material to the whole group. In front of everyone, Jonatha and songwriter Eric Bazillian (writer of “What if God Was One of Us”) began the woodshed and critique process with each writer/presenter. I was not sure what I would share, as it had been some time since I had written anything new, and I felt like I needed something fresh and not-yet-recorded.

I was on for the next day, so when everyone broke for dinner, I stayed behind and sat at the keyboard. This song just “popped out.” My thought process went something like this:

  • I’ll create something with a waltz-like feel, because even if it’s total crap, EVERYTHING sounds better in 6/8 time!
  • They are giving me a gift to critique a song, and in a song, I basically have 3 minutes to send a message. I should thank them for this 3 minutes, and leave everyone in the room with a message that I believe.
  • Hmmmm… I don’t really have a second verse, but it needs one. I can work that out later, but for now, I’ll just sing that I don’t have the words! [Then, surprise! I kept it just like it was for that moment. Haha!]

So, this song became the set-up to talk about a man who I am so blessed to have been “loved for 100 years, in 20.” And even though Mike is a central character in my life and song, LOVE is securely fixed at the true center.

Mike always said to me, “I’m going to live to be over 100, Ami. You don’t have to worry. I’m not going anywhere.”

I would ask, “How do you know?”

He would say, “I just know. Don’t worry; You are safe, and you are loved.”

Mike held up his wristwatch one day during a talk at Cre8. He told families, “I don’t have much to give, so I give people my time.”

So, I hope this song encapsulates the most valuable art of the giving of time.

Because when a life seems to be “cut short,” all of the time we were given suddenly feels like it was just 3 little minutes.

  • I am thankful to Jonatha Brooke and Eric Bazillian for lending me 3 little minutes to offer a song.
  • I am thankful for Mike’s saturated time, given with the fullness of Love.
  • I am thankful to God, that He would value me enough to have given me Mike’s 3 Little Minutes on this earth — a gift that I will never ever take lightly, but instead will use, to shape the time I offer to those around me.

And finally, I ask that you will be brave enough with your 3 little minutes to Love, and to Love big.

The Little things really ARE the Big things, after all.

(side note: the song cuts off at exactly 3:00. It leaves you feeling like it cut short… because when those we love depart, isn’t that precisely how we feel?)

I hope you enjoy this simple song.

Thank you for listening… for 3 little minutes.

Full Song Lyrics

3 Little Minutes

Thank you for lending me 3 little minutes

Waltz with me, Listen, and give me your ear

Tomorrow I need to be telling my story

Of a life, of a time, of a man

Who loved me for a hundred years

I need another verse here for a minute

But I don’t know what I’ll say ________

All that I know is I feel a begin-again

Of a song, of a time, of a rhyme

To sing for a hundred years

It’s all about the Love

You never know when you’ll be gone

Love, in every minute goes on

I need to be brave

Awaken the song in the darkest night

Inviting the light of the day to be

Glorious, glorious, glorious glorious

Everything changed and yet one thing remains the same

Walk with me; Listen; I hope this is clear

We are a people with beautiful stories

Give a life, share a time, hold a hand

And LOVE for a hundred years

We need to be brave

Awaken the song in the darkest night

Inviting the Light of the Day

To be glorious, glorious, glorious glorious

We need to be brave

Awaken the song in the darkest night

Inviting the Light of the Day

To be glorious, glorious, glorious glorious

Thank you for lending me 3 little minutes!