Lightning Rod

We originally titled this song, Peacemaker.


Conversation focused on disagreements and the difficulty of resolution. I recounted my childhood days when I was the family peacemaker. Whenever squabbles came up, I was the go-between, trying to negotiate peace, since I was apparently the only one bothered by disagreements. Nobody ever questioned the impact that it had on me. Not even me. I became the “lightning rod” for the family. I took the misunderstandings and neutralized them. I sometimes physically stood between those arguing. I was shoved, talked over, insulted and still expected to help figure out something that resulted in a peaceful resolution, even if it was only a temporary ceasefire.

Locked away

Decades later, I realize that I am still a “lightning rod.” If something disruptive happens, I step in to negotiate, cajole, even take a strong stand sometimes if all else fails. But, I’m now aware that I’ve been absorbing quite a bit of negative energy all along the way. Sometimes, I wonder where all that disruptive energy goes. Is there a space somewhere inside where bad stuff gets stored—hidden away—locked tight? Will it reappear someday when I least expect it, spilling out onto all that I love and protect? Who’s to say. Perhaps it’s time to take a look inside to see what the cost really is of being a lifelong peacemaker.

Recently, our family had a major flare up. Everyone held a different opinion. Tempers flashed. Tears flowed. There was even a dramatic exit and harsh statements. Once again, I sought to soothe the wounds and make promises that I hoped I could keep. I reasoned that without a peacemaker, someone to draw the fire, someone to cushion the blows, how can there ever be harmony?

Lightning Strikes!

In the rural midwest a beautiful decorative lightning rod was often placed on the roof—right at the peak—of wooden houses and barns. Those lightning rods saved many structures during seasonal electrical storms. Even long after farming had given way to other means of work, there was never a time when there was even a fleeting thought to take down the archaic icons. As long as brilliant flashes of lightning split the sky during fierce midwestern storms, the trusted lightning rod stands to take any potential strike—providing safe grounding and the hope to endure.




Dark heavy air, cloudy skies

Flashes of light before the rumbling thunder

Forewarned, another outburst begins

Wading through water to our knees

Though we’re soaked down to the bone

We survive—since the lightning rod draws the strike


When will it end, we ask into the sky

Searching for sun, maybe just a glimmer

Then the sky splits, another downpour begins

Pending danger, charge in the air

Though the flashing is close by

We survive—since the lightning rod draws the strike


Sometimes we pause to wonder if there’s some sort of limit

How much more can it hold or is the lightning rod full of the flashes drawn

Sometimes we start to worry there really is a limit

Leaving us exposed—raw and helpless to the flashes drawn

Lightning rod sizzles, vapor escapes

Taking with it the heat held inside

Can we take it, is the heat too high

Will it charge us, or melt down inside


Skies darken again, another storm

Hope for some sun, today seems sadly doubtful

Then the sky splits, another cloudburst begins

Sudden deluge, soaked to the skin

Then lightning lights the sky

We survive—since the lightning rod draws the strike

Takes the charge

The surge

Lightning rod

Secret Story

Take a peek behind the scenes of “Lightning Rod” to the Secret Story


This song is dedicated to Jody—fellow traveller and kindred Spirit


From album – Quiet Comes Along
Track released – December 21, 2019
Cheryl Martlage – Lyrics, Vocals and Production
Emerson Martlage – Music, Guitar, Vocals and Production
Inspiration – The Work