Words & Music by Michael Cusick & Steve Siler
In April of 2014 Michael John Cusick published a letter to the women of the world. The letter was an apology to women for the wounding and sexism they have experienced at the hands of men. It was also a plea for forgiveness. In the letter Michael vowed to “stand against misogyny in all its forms.”
At this same time I was working on an initiative called “She’s Somebody’s Daughter” in an effort to get men everywhere to see all women as children of God and – as Michael says in his letter – “inherently worthy of respect.”
We had chosen Oklahoma City as the launch city for our initiative because of its reputation as a hub for human trafficking due to it’s being the crossroads of interstate highways flowing north, south, east, and west. The main focus of the initiative was posting billboards to ignite awareness and spark conversation.
As we were working on the initiative I couldn’t get Michael’s letter out of my head. I felt it was an extraordinarily important message and one that needed to be heard by every woman – and every man.
Throughout the years I’d often heard the conventional wisdom that “men don’t read.” Accordingly, I thought perhaps putting the apology into a song might be a way for more men to get the message.
During one of my visits to OKC I was staying in the home of my long time friend John while he and his wife were out of town. John has a small recording studio in his home. I happened to walk past the open door to the studio one morning and spied an acoustic guitar leaning against the wall.
I picked it up and took it back into the living room. I strummed and e minor chord and found myself quoting Michael’s letter.
I speak on behalf of all men who have wronged you…
Before long I had paraphrased Michel’s letter into a song keeping all of the essential elements of the text, taking care to make it rhyme.
But I was having trouble finding a way to end the song. Whenever I become stuck while writing I always find a change in venue to be helpful. That lyric line I’m looking for may be down on the floor, in another room, or perhaps even outdoors. So it was at this point that I got up and went back into the studio where John kept his keyboard.
I sat down and played through the song with the lyric I had thinking maybe a different instrument might unlock the ending to the lyric. It was then I had one of those mysterious creative moments that are difficult to explain.
With no conscious thought whatsoever when I got to the end of the song I opened my mouth and the words “May I kneel and wash your feet,” came out.
I realize it might seem audacious to credit the Holy Spirit with being the giver of that line. But I truly have no other explanation. It came out of the blue. I knew instantly that it was right.
For those unfamiliar with the scripture, it is a reference to Jesus Christ serving his disciples by washing their feet. The key word there is serving.
This lyric line is a metaphor. Though not phrased as a question, still it makes one wonder. What would it look like if men everywhere sought to love and honor all women in the same way they love and honor their mothers, sisters, wives, and daughters? What would it look like if men everywhere treated all women with the same dignity and respect they would want others to afford the women they love?
One does not have to be a Christian to appreciate the power of this idea. Loving and seeking to serve others is the opposite of selfishly objectifying and using them.
A few nights later I had the opportunity to play the song at a large church in Oklahoma City during a live presentation of our Somebody’s Daughter project. At the conclusion of the presentation a young woman came up to me with tears streaming down her face. “No man has ever apologized to me. “I’ve waited a lifetime to hear those words.”
Much later Michael and I had the opportunity to appear on Chris Fabry live on an hour call-in radio program about The Apology during which time we heard from several women with heart-rending responses.
Then in 2018 I was asked to write a blogpost about The Apology for the National Center on Sexual Exploitation.
As I write this in 2019 the headlines are awash with new revelations of the fruits of our culture’s misogyny. It is my prayer that not only will apologies be forthcoming, but also a change of direction that transforms behavior and prompts healing dialogue and forgiveness.
Listen to The Apology
Visit Michael Cusick’s counseling ministry Restoring the Soul