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My own little world (Matthew West)

What on earth are we living for... ourselves? There's gotta be much more.

In my own little world it hardly ever rains
I’ve never gone hungry, always felt safe
I got some money in my pocket, shoes on my feet
In my own little world
Population me

I try to stay awake through Sunday morning church
I throw a twenty in the plate but I never give ’til it hurts
And I turn off the news when I don’t like what I see
It’s easy to do when it’s
Population me

What if there’s a bigger picture
What if I’m missin' out
What if there’s a greater purpose
I could be living right now
Outside my own little world, ooo

Stopped at the red light, looked out my window
I saw a cardboard sign said “Help this homeless widow
Just above that sign was the face of a human
I thought to myself, “God, what have I been doing?”
So I rolled down the window and I looked her in the eye
Oh how many times have I just passed her by
I gave her some money then I drove on through
In my own little world there’s
Population two, woah

What if there’s a bigger picture
What if I’m missin' out
What if there’s a greater purpose
That I could be living right now
Outside my own little world, ooo
My own little world, ooo

Wo-a-oh, wo-a-oh, wo-a-oh
Yeah-ah

Father break my heart for what breaks Yours
Give me open hands and open doors
Put Your light in my eyes and let me see
That my own little world is not about me

What if there’s a bigger picture
What if I’m missin' out
What if there’s a greater purpose
That I could be living right now

I don't wanna miss what matters
I wanna be reachin' out
Show me the greater purpose
So I can start livin' right now
Outside my own little world, (yeah) ooo
My own little world, (yeah), yeah, yeah
My own little world, ooo

Wo-a-oh, wo-a-oh, wo-a-oh

MY OWN= We use “own” with the possessive adjective to emphasize the idea that it belongs to you, it’s yours and nobody else’s.

HARDLY EVER= Almost never. (when he says "it hardly ever rains" he means that things are usually alright, he has no bad times or needs)

GONE HUNGRY= If you go hungry, you become hungry, you were alright but now you begin to be hungry. We often use the verb GO to express a transition from one state to another, similar to the verb BECOME: to go thirsty, to go hungry, to go blind, to go tired, to go crazy, etc.

POPULATION ME= In American cities and villages, there is usually a big road sign at the entrance welcoming visitors. The usual sign goes:
Welcome to Jellyton, the city of the best sausages in America
Population: 1,200

So when he says, “Population: Me”, it means: “I am the only person who lives in this place” (in my own little world, a place designed for me and just me because there is no room for more)

STAY AWAKE THROUGH...= If you try to stay awake through an event, you make an effort so as not to fall asleep while that is happening, because you are too sleepy or because it is too boring for you. When he says "I try to stay awake through Sunday morning church" he means that he was terribly bored at the Christian religious service.

I THROW A TWENTY IN THE PLATE= During mass and other religious services there is a time, called “offering”, when people give money to help the parish church or the poor in the parish, etc. There is a person walking around the church with a little bag or a tray (a plate) where those who want can put their offering. Here he says that he gave 20 cents for that. The verb “throw” suggests that he gave that little amount carelessly, without really caring about it. It was a mechanical action for him, not really a charitable action born from his heart.

I NEVER GIVE TIL IT HURTS= If you give till it hurts, you give a lot, even what you need. This sentence suggests that he never makes an effort to help with money, he just gives little amounts that he doesn’t need (with 20 cents you can only buy a sweet for a child)

TURN OFF THE NEWS= Disconnect the TV or the radio when they are telling the news. In this case he’s referring to the TV because he says “when I don’t like what I see”.

WHAT IF= We use this phrase to introduce a possibility, a hypothesis, that could be true.
- Don’t take the umbrella, we need to travel light.
- Yea, but what if it rains? It’s too cold, we can’t risk getting a pneumonia.

What if there’s a bigger picture?= Maybe there is a bigger picture (so I must be ready for that possibility)

A BIGGER PICTURE= The picture is a general idea that helps all the little things to make sense. For example, if the police is investigating a crime, they get lots of bits of information and they have to put everything together so that it makes sense, they have to get the big picture. If you have the big picture, all the little details make sense, if you don’t have the big picture, nothing makes sense, or you can get the wrong idea. So “the bigger picture” is that big huge idea that helps everything in the universe make sense. We’re talking of a cosmic explanation for everything, we’re talking about God; He is the bigger picture that makes our life meaningful.

MISSING OUT= If you miss out on something, you don’t experience it (because you’re not there or because you don’t even know it is happening)

THE RED LIGHT= The traffic lights are green, red and yellow/amber. If you stop AT the red light, you stop your car because the traffic lights are red (see picture).

CARDBOARD= A strong form of paper (see picture)

HOMELESS= Without a house to live in.
The homeless = People without a house.

WIDOW= A woman whose husband has died.
(widower= a man whose wife has died)

THE FACE OF A HUMAN= The face of a person (in this case, the woman, the widow begging for money in the street near the traffic lights). When he sees the face of a human, he means that he realizes that the beggar there is a person, not just "a beggar".
In modern English we can use the word HUMAN as a neutral noun meaning a man or a woman.

I THOUGHT TO MYSELF= I had this idea on my mind, but I didn’t speak it aloud (just a silent thought)

PASSED HER BY= If you pass a person by, you just walk past them but you don’t stop.

I DROVE ON THROUGH= I continued driving (through the traffic and the city).
We often use the verb particle ON to express that the action of the verb continues.

FATHER= God.

BREAK MY HEART FOR WHAT BREAKS YOURS= If something breaks your heart, it makes you terribly sad. The singer is telling God that he wants to feel pain when he sees injustice, poverty, suffering, etc. (all the things that break God’s heart). If he feels really sorry for those things, then he will feel the need to do something about it and help those people.

OPEN HANDS= Hands to give, to hug, to help those who need me.

OPEN DOORS= Literally, it refers to opening my house to those who need my help. Metaphorically it means opening the doors of my mind and my body, so I am not insensitive to other people’s needs.

WHAT MATTERS= The important things.

WANNA= (coll.) Want to.

REACHING OUT= To reach out is to extend your arms to take or touch something (in this case, metaphorically, to touch other people and help them).

THE GREATER PURPOSE= The real meaning of life, the reason why we are living for.

RIGHT NOW= At this very moment.
We use RIGHT to emphasize expressions of place and time (right here, right now).

This song is about the opening process of a selfish person, it's about the Christian message of love and charity.

At first, he has a good life, healthy, wealthy, safe, isolated from the rest of the people.

In my own little world it hardly ever rains
I’ve never gone hungry, always felt safe
I got some money in my pocket, shoes on my feet
In my own little world
Population me


He doesn’t care about other people’s needs or problems (in church, where they talk about loving others and helping them, he doesn’t pay any attention so he has to struggle so as not to fall asleep)

I try to stay awake through Sunday morning church
I throw a twenty in the plate but I never give ’til it hurts


As long as he tries to stay away from other people’s needs, to ignore them, he will be safe in his selfish little world, where he only cares about himself and nobody else.

And I turn off the news when I don’t like what I see
It’s easy to do when it’s
Population me


But one day, he makes a terrible mistake: he starts thinking about the meaning of life, and realizes that maybe there is a purpose for us, maybe we are here, in this world, to help others and learn how to love them, which is what they were telling in church while he was thinking of something else.

What if there’s a bigger picture
What if I’m missin' out
What if there’s a greater purpose
That I could be living right now
Outside my own little world


So now, the walls protecting his little world (and isolating him from the rest) begin to crumble down. The first bit crack is when he notices a woman begging in the streets. Now he can’t simply ignore her, as he’s always done, so he feels the need to help her. His little world begins to get bigger, now it’s not only him, for the first time he is aware of another person who needs him.

Stopped at the red light, looked out my window
I saw a cardboard sign said “Help this homeless widow”
Just above that sign was the face of a human
I thought to myself, “God, what have I been doing?”
So I rolled down the window and I looked her in the eye
Oh how many times have I just passed her by
I gave her some money then I drove on through
In my own little world there’s
Population two, woah


Helping that woman is just the first step, once he became aware of other people there was no turning back. He questions all his past life and feels horrible about what he sees. He really wants to change, to be better, so he prays God to turn his old heart of stone into a new heart of flesh and realize that he is here for a reason.

Father break my heart for what breaks Yours
Give me open hands and open doors
Put Your light in my eyes and let me see
That my own little world is not about me

I don't wanna miss what matters
I wanna be reachin' out
Show me the greater purpose
So I can start livin' right now
Outside my own little world

4:17            
 
 
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