So I’ve got a good story for you. A few months ago, I purchased a new family truck/super SUV, as my single girl Jeep went past it’s prime. Somehow between the dealership and here recently, the speakers started to act funny. It’s just a lose wire, but sometimes we would have full surround sound, and sometimes just the small tinny crackles of the front dashboard tweeters. For short commutes and errands, no Jason Aldean, no Coldplay, no Tupac. Yet for an 8 hour drive from upstate New York, we had full workings. For a HUGE music buff like Michael, this inconsistency is bad news. For me, when things like this happen I look for the why.
I am no stranger to silent commutes. When we lived in the city, I once had my radio antenna stolen. I was no longer able to listen to my thought provoking NPR, or mindless talk radio. I could listen to CD’s, but my commute was so short I would just sit in silence. It was during that silence that I began to think of my most brilliant ideas. Having just given birth, the time for meditating and self-introspection was non-existent. Then it dawned on me…I needed the silence. God was looking to talk to me and actually get a word in edgewise, and me alone in the car with no radio was the only way he could do it! So I then began to use the time to pray, ask for guidance, and just think my thoughts. Sometimes I would head to the dark place and use the time to feel through my anger over some extended family complications, even using the time to cry. Mostly though, I was able to come to incredible conclusions, and really see the lessons that I was coming to learn through my trials. I was learning so much, I took my time replacing that $8.00 antenna and kept the conversation between me and the Divine flowing. Michael was still able to listen to CD’s when he drove, and all was well. Now, it was happening all over again with a different car, and this time Michael’s commute is effected too. Before, it was only my NPR and mindless radio that couldn’t get through and there was no love lost. But for a man with 1,000+ songs on his iPhone and countless binders full of CD’s…he’s a tad cranky about it.
Yesterday, I climbed into the truck to enjoy a beautiful fall drive home from work, when lo and behold full speaker sound! I was scrambling through the CD’s to find my favorite Jason Aldean album but could only find one. Without thinking, I popped it in. It wasn’t the one that I was thinking of, but I listened to my favorite cut and then skimmed through the rest. I really wanted my favorite CD though. The song that I wanted to hear is just so great on this 8 speaker sound system. Hellbent on hearing it, and soothe my need for instant gratification, I actually pulled over to look for it. I was about to call Michael to ask him where the rest of my CD stash was, yet something told me to just let the CD play. Reluctantly I got back in and pulled back onto the road. I’m sitting at a red light when Jason starts to sing;
“Waiting at a stoplight yesterday as a funeral procession made it’s way though the gates…”
I thought of the irony of being at a red light but went on to think of other things until I heard;
“…it made me think about where I’m at on my not so straight and narrow path and all of the mostly undeserved blessings that I have.”
I immediately begin to think of all the great stuff in my life, and how cranky and ungrateful I have been for the past three days because I’m frustrated and tired of waiting to get “there”. “There” in my mind is many different places. Finding the perfect house to remodel, publishing my book, Michael and I’s business ventures, getting more time in my saddle. Like anyone, I can sometimes fall into the trap of “I’ll be happy once all of the above happens”. Eventually, the frustration turns into stagnation while waiting for the dreams that I know are going to come true, to come true, instead of being happy NOW. By the time I hear;
“I had an all American mom and dad, some of the coolest friends you can ever have. Found love I thought I’d never find, sometimes I can’t believe this life is mine. I’m not plannin’ on leavin’ yet, but the truth is, you just never know and If this is as good as it gets, man…I think I’m good to go.”
I’m bawling my eyes out, probably scaring pedestrians as they cross in front of me but I can’t help it. I’m having yet another full fledged spiritual awakening right in the middle of Route 896. The song is now depicting my exact current life that I’ve been over looking, my parents, my friends, my love. Further into the song he talks about holding his newborn baby daughter and the doctor handing me our little Dylan for the first time as Michael and three very special people look on is all that I can envision. I have so much to be thankful for, and though I’ve written about gratitude a few times before, God was pointing out to me in a loving way that I had not fully integrated gratitude into my life yet. It took a song that I’ve never heard before on an album that I’ve owned for a year to get the message across to me. I can get so caught up in the negative emotions that surround the “bad things” that have happened to me that I get tunnel vision, and what we put our focus on grows. My divorce, my near bankruptcy, the defamation of my character…as bad as those things were, the great things in my life far out weigh them. In fact, they outshine them 1,000 fold. I had been too bogged down in just wanting to get “there” that I wasn’t appreciating the “here”. I pulled over to the side of the road to compose myself and think about what was happening. I realized that I am so blessed, some of the blessings undeserving at the moment, but if I were to leave this earth today as the song suggests, I really would be “good to go.” I have great family and friends, I would leave behind a legacy with our son, I would have loved deeply, and there are a great many things that would carry on in my name. As soon as I pulled into the driveway, I eagerly told Michael of my new found clarity. When I finished speaking, he opened the back door of the truck and pointed to the pocket on the door, there were all of my Jason Aldean CD’s in the only place I couldn’t see from where I sat, nor did I look there when I had pulled over.
I am in awe at the way that God can communicate to us…that is when we are quiet enough to hear him. A simple song that I probably wouldn’t have even listened to if the other CD that I wanted was within arms reach, or if I wouldn’t have been patient enough to just go with the flow. A song that I never heard before that came into my life and rocked it, much like how I found Jason Aldean in the first place, from a dear friend who passed on shortly thereafter. Jason’s music reminds me of not only him, but now my twinflame Michael. While Michael isn’t cool enough to have fully embraced country, he sure does love me enough to have single handily purchased every single CD that Jason Aldean has made just for me. And the list of blessings continue…
When we are quiet, or when we give up struggling against the moment, something wonderful happens. It’s like magic. We can hear our higher self. It is that quieter loving part of us that knows exactly what we need in that very moment that can only lead us to the grander destination that is meant for our life. It is the comforting voice inside of us that gently guides us and nudges us to give thanks for all that we are so far…even if what we are right now is long from what we hope to be. We forget to be thankful sometimes because we want to hurry up to get “there”. Or we forget to be thankful because we don’t want to appear as though we are showing off or trying to make others feel bad. But I promise this, every single person has something to be thankful for. Even those that are currently walking through the depths of hell, and I can say that from personal experience.
I’m not foolish enough to say that I won’t forget to be thankful from time to time, because humans are fallible. But if you ask me upon greeting me how I am as my horse’s farrier did this morning, or as the women at the gas station did, or my business colleague, my new favorite response is “I’m good to go.” Because I am.
The song I can thank for my revelation;