Gabe’s First Day at The Big House or “That Guy is only 16? I Thought He Sang Lead for ZZ Top.”

Around the first week of August, 2015, I drove my son, Gabe, to his first day at what I had, up to that point, referred to as “the big house.” His first day of high school had arrived with little fanfare. He hadn’t seemed nervous at all which was not terribly surprising. He had already moved from the child development center at our church to the elementary school for kindergarten and then, after 4th grade, from the elementary school to the middle school. Those transitions hadn’t been a big deal so there was no reason to think his move to the high school would be much different. And, in all honesty, it wasn’t…except from the time we pulled into the parking lot of the school until the time I turned left onto Highway 14 to make the short drive back home. Not for him, mind you. He handled it like the calm, cool, and well-adjusted young man he was becoming. If his dad had ever been calm, cool, and well-adjusted (not likely) it wouldn’t be happening that morning, at least not in those four or five minutes of time spent in the drop off line.

The first wave of emotion hit me as I turned off the main driveway of the school onto the part that would wind its way up to the front door. It was then that I noticed all the cars that had already arrived and parked in the main parking lot in front of the school. Not teachers and administrators and other staff…students. Students who were old enough to drive. A car. Alone. To school. They looked so big compared to the skinny little, fair-haired boy who sat next to me, apparently unmoved by the scene unfolding in front of us. Teenagers of every sort greeted friends they hadn’t seen since school dismissed for the summer back in May. Big teenagers. There were guys with beards standing next to behemothian four wheel drive vehicles with lights and stickers and huge wheels. There were young ladies wearing makeup with splendidly coiffed hair and looking every bit old enough to put on a pantsuit (does anyone wear pantsuits anymore now that Hillary Clinton spends most of her time roaming the woods outside NYC instead of campaigning) and go to work at some office crunching numbers or selling real estate or running a company or any number of other incredibly important jobs. Anyway, in that moment, I realized how young and little my boy was, at least compared to these kids, and I felt a little nervous for him. Heck, I felt nervous for me! How would he handle the much stronger and freer personalities of these older kids? What if some big dude decided to pick on him? How could he defend himself against them? How would I handle the various and sundry situations that could crop up in this new, similar, yet very different environment? I almost panicked. I might have thought homeschooling sounded pretty darn good all of a sudden. I could probably learn the new math if I absolutely had to!

We made a right turn and then another right turn and there we were, on the homestretch to the front door where what looked like hundreds of younger kids mingled with a few older ones who, for whatever reason, hadn’t been able to drive themselves to school that day. The sense of foreboding grew more intense as I scanned the crowd for a familiar face, wanting to be able to say to Gabe, “Isn’t that so-and-s0? You can go stand with them until they open the doors. They’re nice, right?” We finally made our way to the unloading zone and I saw Gavin. Gabe knew Gavin, also a freshman, and assured me that they were friends. As quickly as we pulled up and stopped, he reached into the back seat, got his backpack, and opened the door. Here it was. The moment was at hand. Time for a quick word of fatherly advice and encouragement, right? I guess so. If you consider, “Have a great day! I love you!” to be the stuff of inspiration then, in the parlance of my people, I cranked a sho’nuff dinger that day. “Love you, too” he replied and then the door slammed and he was gone. At the risk of the parent behind me honking their horn to get me moving along, I watched him walk away. Probably no more than five seconds. There was no hint of reluctance or fear on his face or in his gait. I took my foot off the brake, crept over two speed bumps, and made the final right turn that would take me to the traffic light that, with its green hue, would guide me away from my little boy at that big school with all those big people.

And on that 200 yard stretch of asphalt from the corner of the building to the traffic light, I cried. Hard. I guess I really wasn’t completely sure why at the moment but in hindsight, I think it was the realization that my little boy was no longer a little boy. That sounds so cliched, I know, but I guess one of the reasons cliches are repeated so often is that there is so much truth in them. I think in those moments that morning, somewhere in the deepest recesses of my memory, maybe even subconsciously, I saw Gabe as a baby and felt the unexplainable joy of holding him for the very first time. I saw him as the toddler who put practically every toy he had that would fit into a hole in the back of our old recliner. When we bought a new and moved the old one out, it was like Christmas for him getting all those toys back! When that many memories start kicking around, even in your subconscious, you’ll have a rush of emotions of some sort. Mine, whatever sort they were, exited my body that day in the form of tears and what my dad would’ve referred to as blubberin’. Bless the poor people who had to look upon me as I sat in the line to exit the campus that day. I’m not much to look at on my best day. When I cry, I’m ugly as a mud fence.

Gabe is now in the final few months of his sophomore year and he’s not only survived at the big house, he’s thrived and I couldn’t be more proud. But that’s really not my point. As we slide in toward his 16th birthday next month, he has he has grown to be almost as tall as me and he looks more and more like a man and less like a kid practically every day. When school starts next year, he’ll be one of those kids…er…students who pulls his car into the parking lot and greets friends he might not have seen since school got out. He probably won’t have a beard but he’ll be even bigger than he already is while some other poor, nervous dad or mom drops their freshman off at that same front door I did in 2015. And now, at long, laborious last, here is my point, another cliche: TIME FLIES. Gabe is big and tall and will be driving himself around in only a few weeks. In a real car and not a plastic John Deere Gator. His little sister will be 11 in less than three weeks and, if things go as they did with Gabe, she’ll be sauntering up to the front door of the high school in the blink of an eye herself and I’ll wonder again where the time has gone.

The kids won’t be little forever. We’ve got to love them and teach them how to live in the limited time we have with them. Before they go off to college and get a job and get married and, well, you know how the story goes. You and I won’t live forever so making the most of today is of paramount importance, not just for our kids but for all of us.

Here’s to hoping I can do a better job in the days I have left of living in the moments that are and not the ones that have been or may never be. Hopefully, I can encourage others to do the same. I aim to try harder to do just that. Life is brief and entirely too short to spend so much of it in fretful anxiety. I’ll try it if you will.

Psalm 118:24, John 10:10, Matthew 6:25-34

 

 

 

 

 

7-11 Worship Songs or Old Hymns?

I grow weary of reading articles like this, (Why Don’t They Sing on Sunday Anymore?), and yet here I am posting one. Even though this particular article isn’t really about the contemporary/traditional worship wars, I’ve seen it posted on social media where it was used as a salvo in that “war.”

For the record, my wife is the de-facto worship leader at our church and she works hard to choose a diverse selection of songs. It’s not at all unusual for there to be a couple of hymns mixed in with the contemporary stuff even in our 8:30 service which is technically our contemporary service. Our praise band does a fantastic job with both the old and new stuff and I’m just as comfortable singing Just As I Am (even with drums and an electric guitar and bass…I’m looking at you Bret Jones) as I am belting out (badly) Every Praise by Hezekiah Walker, itself rather repetitive but no less worshipful and theologically sound. If I weren’t so Baptist I might be tempted to do a little jig when I hear it. It’s quite peppy.

Just because one prefers hymns to more modern “7-11” songs as one commenter I saw called them, doesn’t mean they can’t help usher Christ-followers into an attitude of worship.  After all, when Fannie J. Crosby first wrote her beautiful, classic songs, they weren’t classic…they were new. They were contemporary.

If people aren’t singing in church maybe it is because they don’t care for the style of music. I honestly don’t know. Maybe I’ll ask around this Sunday. I do believe this, though…If people aren’t taking part in an act of earnest, corporate worship based solely on the fact that they don’t like a particular song or style of music, that might be more indicative of a bit of a selfish attitude or maybe even the condition of their heart.

We did The Purpose Driven Life at my church several years ago. One of the things I remember is that Rick Warren told us that worship isn’t about us. It’s about God. He’s absolutely correct. It’s about the Father, Son, and Spirit. It’s about encouragement and ministry and praise and extolling the limitless virtues of God.

As for me, I’ll take John Newton’s “Amazing Grace” AND Chris Tomlin’s “Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone.)” I’m good with Horatio Spafford’s “It Is Well With My Soul” immediately following Kristene DiMarco’s “It Is Well.” (Thanks, Tiffany D. Fontenot for introducing me to that one.)

I’ve said enough I suppose. It’s getting late and I have to go add some new songs to my Christian Hip-Hop Running Mix before the weekend sneaks up on me. Oops…new can of worms. Until next time…

Flag Flap Foolishness

This Confederate flag situation has to be one of the most useless responses to something so tragic that I’ve ever heard of. Allow me to reference scripture here even though that is frowned upon by the more “enlightened” among whom we commoners dwell:

“24 You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.
25 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26 Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.”” Matthew 23:24-26

Jesus is chastising the scribes and Pharisees because they tithe (a good thing) but they ignore numerous other, vitally important aspects of His teaching. In other words, they want it to look like they’re doing something great but what they’re actually doing pales in comparison to what they SHOULD be doing.

Sounds like He could be addressing a joint session of congress. It’s certainly something they need to hear. While much hay is being made on both sides of the aisle regarding removal of this flag from practically any and every place it has ever been displayed, race relations continue to go to you-know-where in a hand basket.

The ever-growing crowd of PC do-gooders can fight and fuss and scratch and claw until anything that even resembles this flag has been legislated completely out of existence and it won’t, as my mama would say, amount to a hill of beans. Why? Because a flag isn’t what caused Dylan Roof to commit mass murder and regardless of how good it makes the PC peddlers feel to not see it over a government building or on the grave of Confederate soldier, removing it solves nothing and, in fact, looks to be making things worse. If I make my way down a particular stretch of Bourbon Street in New Orleans and take down every rainbow colored flag I come across, will that magically transform every homosexual to a heterosexual? Dumb question? Yep. Not any dumber than what the anti-flag crusaders are doing.

We could be dealing with things that matter. Doing things that might make a difference in race relations and the growing divide between practically every demographic in the book.

That’s just my opinion. I’m just a white, southern, conservative Christian. What do I know. SCOTUS will probably find me unconstitutional in a few years anyhow.

The Party of Lying Legends

The Democrat cult…er…party never ceases to amaze and enrage me. Your former Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, took to the Senate floor during the last presidential election and lied about Mitt Romney not paying his taxes. He lied and admitted it in an interview and when asked if he regretted it, he said that Romney “didn’t win, did he?”

The Clintons have built not one but two political careers that have been based on lies and deception from almost the beginning. “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Ms. Lewinsky.” Sound familiar?  “It depends upon what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.” That statement is among the most asinine I have ever heard and yet Mr. Clinton is a hero among democrats. Benghazi, being shot at as she ran from an airplane in the middle east, the current email fiasco…Hillary Rodham Clinton is pretty darn savvy at saying and doing anything to save her own rear-end and/or gain more power.

It’s not that I’m so naive to believe republicans are pure as the driven snow. They’re not and it really chaps my butt when the party I most closely identify with practices what I’ll refer to as the Clinton Plan to gain power and pad their own pockets. Politicians of every stripe lie. Democrat politicians, though, have perfected it, embrace it, and use it more effectively than any institution this side of the Sanhedrin.

For the record, I think that many republicans in the Alabama house of representatives, specifically Speaker Hubbard and his minions, have been a huge embarrassment and if they were truly interested in doing the right thing, they’d do whatever they can to make sure Hubbard doesn’t wield the gavel of that chamber for one more day.

In other words, their recent behavior and decisions would make them really good democrats. Perhaps democrat legends in the making.

Blessings

Today is my first Thanksgiving without either of my parents. There are so many wonderful and warm memories that mean so much, most of which are of the simplest things. I don’t know that I’ve had a dumpling since mama made her last ones several years ago. When I was little, she let me “help” her by rolling out the dough with the rolling pin. I’d float back and forth between the kitchen and the living room where my dad would sit at the end of the couch with his Bible in his lap studying his Sunday sermon before my three sisters and their families arrived. Our house was holiday central and I loved every minute of it.

Things have changed an awful lot over the years and, looking back, I wish I’d paid more attention to all the little things that at the time seemed to be little more than exercises in the mundane. I guess we all do that to one degree or another. Life is brief and it’s unfortunate that we usually don’t consider that until we’re reminded by the passage of many years or tragedies the likes of which our community has experienced this week and, it seems, all too often over the past several months. Though we needn’t grieve without hope, we grieve still. We struggle to embrace a new normal that finds loved ones gone from this earth and relationships that once were, no longer.

My prayer today is that we will hug longer, laugh more heartily, and express our love to our family and friends more openly and passionately while they are still here with us. I firmly believe that if we examine closely all that remains, even as we mourn that which is gone, that God can and will reveal to us blessings that we may have previously overlooked. He loves us more than we can fathom. He proved it when He allowed His Son to suffer on our behalf. He is able to give us a heavenly perspective of hope that transcends the temporal things of this world. That hope exists in the person of Jesus Christ. That is something to be thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving.

A God-Shaped Hole

There are many ways that people seek and find comfort, at least temporarily, during difficult times. One immutable truth I’ve discovered in my life is that when things are the most hopeless, when people can fall no deeper into despair, it is God who they cry out to for help, whether publicly or in the privacy of their own thoughts, and it is God who supernaturally does exactly what He’s promised to do for those who will simply allow Him and that is to love and give comfort beyond human comprehension. It defies logic and is beyond what any human mind could even begin to understand but it is as real as the replica of my mama’s nose that resides in the middle of my face. I have seen it in the lives of friends and family. I have experienced it in my own life more times than I can count. Tonight, I saw it in two fathers and a mother who suddenly and tragically lost their 16 year old sons only 24 short hours ago. I believe that there is, as one Christian musician sang, a God-shaped hole in all of us and when our very souls shudder with fear and burn with pain so intense we wonder if we can live through even one more breath, He fills that hole, maybe even against our will, with peace and love and mercy so great that it is beyond explanation. I don’t know how and I surely don’t know why. I just know He does and for that, I am eternally grateful. He is Jehovah-Shalom.

Justice? Yeah. Right. What a joke. Sharpton in Ferguson

An unarmed 18-year-old young man was gunned down by a police officer. Not that it matters, but the police officer was of a different race than the unarmed teenager. That 18-year-old young man was my cousin, Gil Collar, and he was shot and killed on October 6, 2012, by a University of South Alabama campus police officer. His mother and father were devastated, as was the rest of his family and much of this community. I wish people who shout loudly and frequently for “justice” when a Michael Brown or a Trayvon Martin is killed really wanted justice because if they did, they would have shown up in Mobile two years ago to make sure justice was served.

Al Sharpton and his ilk sicken me. Self-promoting fools who get rich by fostering distrust and outright hate between races ought to be treated with contempt rather than hailed as heroes, regardless of the color of one’s skin. Sharpton and Jessie Jackson aren’t crusaders for black people. They’re opportunists who make a handsome living by capitalizing on the pain and misfortune of others.

While they grandstand and inflame racial tensions in places like Ferguson, Missouri and Sanford, Florida, there are still two grieving parents in Wetumpka, Alabama who are patiently awaiting justice of some sort, whether that justice comes in this life or the next.

Real justice doesn’t care about the color of someone’s skin. It’s a shame that that seems to be the only thing Sharpton cares about.

http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/1958480/

I have a theory regarding the state of politics on every level. From the tiniest hamlet all the way up to the most powerful position in the land, head football coach of the University of Alabama. Just beneath that position would be the office of President of the United States. My theory is this: When you start seeing elected officials park in the same parking spaces in which the rest of us commoners park, then you’ll start seeing a change in the way our municipalities, counties, wards, beats, commonwealths, states, and, ultimately, our country, are governed.

I’m not sure exactly what happens when someone is elected to public office, but many of them seem to suddenly see themselves as a part of the privileged class, whatever that is. Among the various other benefits they often garner as a result of their ascension into public “service,” they often begin to park their vehicles wherever they wish. They often do this in situations where there is a perfectly good, marked parking space that is just as close or, in some cases I’ve seen, closer and more convenient, than the one they created for themselves which is often not a parking space at all. It may just be a piece of asphalt right next to the building which houses their office or perhaps a grassy area where no one else would even consider parking a vehicle. I contend that this parking snob malady is symptomatic of the sometimes bloated image one might have of oneself after having successfully campaigned for a public office. This is only a theory and I happen to know several successful politicians who park not only in a normal parking space, but further away so that others may have their pick of the more plum spots. Other symptoms include an overwhelming sense of self-importance and an “I’m smarter than you and know more about what you need than you do” attitude. Which brings me to the point of this post…

I had a conversation yesterday on my Facebook page for this blog with Senator Bryan Taylor who represents District 30 in the Alabama Senate, the district in which I reside. The city I live in, Wetumpka, had a bill before the legislature that would’ve given the citizens of Wetumpka an opportunity to vote on whether or not to allow on-premises Sunday alcohol sales as well as draft beer sales. Of the six members of the Alabama legislature who represent Wetumpka (can you say Gerrymander?), Only Senator Taylor was able to find an issue with the bill and apparently only detected the issue in the eleventh hour as the legislative session was about to come to an end. Senator Taylor, in all his infinite wisdom, decided that this would be the proper time to amend the bill to exclude two types of businesses from the bill so that they couldn’t sell alcohol on Sunday. One business is the Creek Casino. I won’t get into my views on the casino and gambling. Suffice it to say that most readers of this blog would likely take issue with them. I’m not a fan of gambling. Senator Taylor, who is also a practicing attorney, happens to represent the Escambia County Commission which is attempting to collect taxes from the Wind Creek Casino in Atmore, Alabama (I actually agree with the commission on that issue). Wind Creek Casino happens to be owned by PCI Gaming, the same tribe that owns the casino in Wetumpka. The other amendment to the bill would’ve prevented any clubs which offer “adult entertainment,” i.e., strip clubs, from selling alcohol on Sunday. You are certainly welcome to draw your own conclusions regarding the amendment dealing with the casino. I would like to think that Senator Taylor wouldn’t kill this bill or any bill, particularly a local one, simply to shove his thumb in the eye of the subject of the litigation he is involved in in Escambia county. A proverbial shot across the bow of the PCI boat is certainly his prerogative but it shouldn’t come at the expense of Wetumpka city officials and residents who ought to be able to decide for themselves what is best for their community. The only thing I’ll say about the amendment regarding the strip clubs is that there is a city ordinance already in place, as it should be, which prohibits such establishments from doing business in Wetumpka. Not to mention the fact that you’d likely have less opposition if you tried to open a toxic waste dump adjacent to the elementary school than you would if you tried to open a strip club. Wetumpka has never been and likely will never be home to any sort of alleged “gentlemen’s club.”

The bottom line as I see it is this: Senator Taylor, based on some of his comments which you can read here, seems to have fallen victim to the parking snob syndrome. Some of his comments lead me to wonder if he doesn’t enjoy his position as Senator a little too much. He’s in a position, because of an antiquated state constitution, to insert himself square in the middle of any legislation the sort of which HB474 and HB475 were. Bills that would’ve affected only the city of Wetumpka. Senator Taylor blamed Senator Quinton Ross of Montgomery as well as our local city officials for the failure of the bill. In fact, he admonished Wetumpka city officials by saying, “Next time, perhaps local officials will do what all other local officials across my district do before introducing a bill — talk to their legislative delegation and work out differences BEFOREhand…” It is my understanding that the other five members who represent Wetumpka in the state legislature had no issues with the bill. Only Senator Taylor.

I don’t know where Senator Taylor parks his vehicle. Maybe he parks far away from the doors of the places he frequents so as to allow others to have the better spaces. What I do know is that it seems, at least in my opinion, that the senator rather enjoys his position of authority, whether real or imagined. I would suppose it to be a quite heady proposition to have local officials across an area be compelled by a billion-page, bloated state constitution to consult with you and gain your approval before they can move forward with something they feel would be beneficial to the city in which they were elected to serve. I suppose we’d all like to find ourselves in the catbird seat from time to time. I’ve found myself in whatever seat is the opposite of the catbird seat more often than not for most of my life. Heck, I might even find myself enjoying the power of that position should I ever find my way there. I like to think I’d try to be more of a servant than a member of some unofficial board of directors who gets to tell everyone what to do. I can promise you this…Should I ever find my way into some sort of public office, be it chief bottle-washer or president or anywhere in between, I’ll park my 2001 Tahoe with 140,000 miles on it in a regular parking spot. You have my word.

You can read David Goodwin’s excellent and informative article on this issue on The Wetumpka Herald’s website.

Confessions of a Fanilow: Mama, Music, and Manilow

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I’ve always loved music. A lot. All sorts of music. But the only music I recall hearing as a young child were the songs from The Baptist Hymnal that my mama would sing between watching the “stories” and handling the general upkeep of the New Home Baptist Church pastorium, the one in Titus. She sang all the time. I can’t tell you what I had for breakfast this morning but I can sing you the first, second, and last verse of half the songs in the 1975 version of the hymnal. Maybe that’s where my love of music and singing was born.

We had a big old console stereo with an FM tuner and a record player. We even had a few records, mostly Elvis and Lawrence Welk, but we couldn’t listen to them because the record player didn’t have a needle. The only time I ever remember it being on is when daddy would crank it up and we’d eat popcorn and listen to Alabama basketball games. In 1981, for my 12th birthday, mama and daddy took me up to Bush’s in Slapout and we made what would be the last payment on a stereo they had put on layaway several weeks earlier. It went in my room and not only did the record player have a needle, but it also had an 8-track player! At any given time you could find me in my room with the door closed, singing along to one of my handful of 8-tracks. Leif Garrett, The Village People, and, of course, Elvis, were among the staples of my collection. The 8-track player actually had a jack where you could plug in a microphone and record right onto the tape itself. Aside from recording the hits directly from Y-102, this feature would serve my two nephews and I well as we pretended to be wrestlers with Jason, 6 years my junior, and I wrestling while his younger brother, Dale, would serve as our own version of Mean Gene Okerlund. It would also lead to the infamous, and I quote here, “And they’re scrappin’ like hell” comment from the 6 year old Dale as our match apparently became so hotly contested that a cuss word was needed to convey the unimaginable excitement he was witnessing. I’m sure it also ended the match as his older brother at that point was likely compelled, once he broke the figure-four leg lock I had clamped on him, to go and tell on Dale for cussing. 

I faced a whole new problem when I became old enough to drive. In 1985, my 16th birthday found us with a green 1972 Ford LTD with only an AM radio. The 1974 and 1976 models that followed over the next 18 months had the same issue. I could occasionally pick up Casey Kasem’s American Top-40 on Sunday afternoons but other than that, AM radio was mostly only good for listening to trucker music out of Metairie, Louisiana at 11:30 p.m. on Saturday nights. Great for a guy driving a K-whopper hauling a lowboy loaded with a Caterpillar backhoe from Birmingham to Houston. Not as great for a 16 year old boy who just wanted to take a girl to a movie and be able to listen to Chicago 17 on the way in the hopes that she’d hold his hand when You’re the Inspiration came on. Slim Whitman’s Indian Love Call just didn’t have the same effect. Then, like the Lone Ranger riding in to save the day, my Aunt Mary drove her 1980 Cutlass Supreme from Bakersfield, California to Slapout, Alabama to live with us. I’m not sure she ever drove the car again due to her severe arthritis but it did anything but sit idle in the driveway. It had AM/FM cassette and CRUISE CONTROL! Not nearly as common in the mid-80s as it is now. It also only had two doors and just like that, I was riding in style! Run DMC, Prince, New Edition, Cinderella, Bon Jovi…I felt like I was living in a movie and these cassettes were the soundtrack of my life. I saved up a little money from my job as a bagboy at Food World and bought some chrome, bullet hole rims from Otasco. I WAS RICH!!!

By that time, my obsession with the music of Barry Manilow had been fully realized and embraced. An obsession that continues today. I’ve always loved Elvis and vividly remember exactly where I was and how sad I felt when I heard that he had died. I’ll do the same when Barry leaves this earth but I’ll be a lot more upset. I used to wonder why all the girls cried when I saw videos of them at an Elvis concert. I saw Barry Manilow in concert for the first time about 10 years ago and I don’t wonder anymore. I didn’t cry but I’ll have to admit to getting a little watery-eyed from excitement. Don’t go spreading that around. I’ve got an image to maintain. I’ve taken a lot, and I mean A LOT of heat over the years for being a hardcore Fanilow. I have a gay friend in Atlanta who made fun of me for being a Fanilow. I don’t mean to stereotype, but I always operated under the assumption that the gay community embraced Barry, especially after his appearance on Will and Grace in 2003. I’m sure there’s never been a time in my life, no matter what season of difficulty or prosperity I happened to be going through at the time, that I couldn’t think of a Barry Manilow song that fit that situation perfectly. If you see me singing while driving, I’m probably belting out, badly, Weekend in New England or maybe Somewhere Down the Road or The Old SongsHe had me at Mandy.

My wife is insanely musically talented. She has the voice of Sandi Patty and plays the piano. She also teaches dance. In college, she was a member of the AU Show Choir or simply Auburn Singers as I’ve come to know them over the years. Every few years, they have a reunion and many of the members from past incarnations of the group join the current members and they put on a show(Yes, they do a Manilow song). They always end with what I’ll refer to as their unofficial theme song. It’s called What Would I Do Without My Music and even though I’ve sometimes made a little fun of the time she spent in the AU Singers, that song moves me. Every time.

Music has played an important role in my life. Some of my earliest and most precious memories are of my mama singing those hymns around the house. There are songs that bring back wonderful childhood memories of Christmases and birthdays and other occasions. There are songs that remind me of young love and first breakups. First kisses and first arguments. Proms and homecoming games. Songs that bring to mind people and places that are no longer. Songs that marked a marriage and songs that comforted through the heartache of divorce. Songs that remind me to be thankful for what I have and usher me into the very presence of God. Songs that remind me of my mama and how she loved to sing and that help me remember that she’s in a perfect place now, Heaven. Most importantly, there are songs that God has inspired and continues to inspire men to write that remind me that even though I said an earthly goodbye to Mama on July 27, 2011, that I’ll get to see her again one day. That my goodbye was not forever

What would I do without my music?

 

“You’re in a better place, I’ve heard a thousand times.And at least a thousand times I’ve rejoiced for you. But the reason why I’m broken, the reason why I cry is how long must I wait to be with you? I close my eyes and I see your face. If home’s where my heart is then I’m out of place. Lord, won’t you give me strength to make it through somehow. I’ve never been more homesick than now.” –Homesick by MercyMe

 

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