Tim McCarthy and the Business of Good

Goodbye Road

Sep 29, 2023 11:21:30 AM / by Tim McCarthy

Alice and I stood with Caitlin and her boyfriend at a music festival along the Chattanooga River.  The lights came on, a church-sounding organ began, and a man’s voice filled the night.

As the song unfolded, bumps were rising on my skin.  Near the end, I was silently weeping.

Screen Shot 2023-09-29 at 11.18.43 AM

The band was a combination of a duet called Johnnyswim and another named Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors performing their soulful 2018 ballad titled, “Goodbye Road”.

Music hits me particularly hard when its lyrics reach into my feelings and thoughts.  Add the strength of a haunting melody and beautiful, strong voices and I immerse myself in connecting those thoughts and feelings to reality. 

The songwriters say that Goodbye Road is about “finding your people”.  And so, I thought about “my people” collected over this long life.

  • Priests, Nuns, Ministers, Rabbis and Buddhas who’ve inspired me by their inclusive faith and service to the poor and voiceless.
  • Politicians who I follow because of their statesman-like approach. That is, those who take their role as elected officials more seriously than blindly following partisan doctrine.
  • Businesspeople who’ve shown me that real success comes from taking customer and employee interest first, the result of which are gains in both money and meaning.

The song’s chorus reminds me where I’ve found my people:

Strangers, outcasts, artists and thieves
Misfits, legends and lost refugees…

My sister, Kathleen, once sent me a homily that her pastor titled, “The Island of Misfit Toys”.  The phrase (from “Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer”) was described beautifully by this priest as “our faith community where we are all broken or misshaped and yet fit nicely here in this place where we can love without judgment”. 

Late in the song, this verse, performed acapella, took me deeper still:

Travelin' Paul on the road to Damascus
The ghost of Saul, he laid down in a casket
Sometimes flowers grow in the soil of ashes
Pick 'em as you go down Goodbye Road

Poignant for me because those I admire most are growing flowers in the soil of ashes.  Recovering addicts, lost spouses by death and divorce, those fighting generational poverty…other misfit toys like you and me.

We make our home on Goodbye Road.


Tim McCarthy

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Tim McCarthy

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