"Music, too, tends to pluck at the chords of emotion. Tears are healing. I do not want to cry when I am not alone, but by myself I don't try to hold the tears back. In a sense this solitary weeping is a form of prayer." - Two-Part Invention by Madeleine L'Engle
I understand exactly what she means. I try not to cry in public, but it’s difficult at church sometimes. Oh, that music. The hymns he loved get me every time; at home it might be other music. Especially, but not limited to, The Avett Brothers. Occasionally it’s a scene in a movie. Or a beautiful evening sky. Or dates on the calendar.
Sometimes I’ll come across something that probably only I would understand. Like a book he read where some of the sentences were underlined. He would use an index card and make the lines perfectly straight. I’ve even found a card a time or two, with the edge faintly marked with ink where he had used it.
He was by no means OCD, but he did have these little endearing habits. Like buying the same socks and underwear at JC Penney. Or washing his work shirts every Tuesday. As often as my schedule allowed I’d do it for him. And he always thanked me. Now, this was YEARS into our marriage, not when I had four kids running underfoot and would have loved him to wash some shirts for ME. But, we all tend to mellow and learn so much as we age. As we should. And he thanked me!
I used the song “Living of Love” as a springboard for a post last October. Once again the lyrics hit home. Some days aren’t easy, But, some are surprisingly wonderful. Yesterday was a mix of both. I heard a good message at church, but could hardly sing the hymns for the lump in my throat. I went to Pastor Eric’s home for lunch where I met some new people and got to know them a little bit. I listened to Eric’s mom tell funny stories and remembered my mom who could tell some funny stories. And Mom had a few good jokes up her sleeve, also. Just ask my family about the southern lady on the train.
If the days aren't easy and the nights are rough
When they ask you what you're thinking of
Say love, say for me love
Say love, say for me love
No matter how rough and lonely the nights, I can still Say Love. I think of God’s love and how He has not forsaken me. I think of Chuck’s love and all the little things I miss. I think of my kids’ love and all the ways they show it.
And I sing songs of sorrow, because you're not around...
November spells sweet memory, the season blue remains
November spells sweet memory, the season blue remains...
November Blue - TAB
So many things can trigger my tears, but it’s mostly music that gets me. Especially in church because Chuck loved the hymns so well. Sometimes in the early morning or on a Sunday afternoon I’d hear him softly singing from the hymn book while sitting in his office or in the kitchen.
Today we sang “To God Be the Glory” and “Wonderful Grace of Jesus”. Wonderful classics.
...taking away my burden, setting my spirit free;
for the wonderful grace of Jesus reaches me...
I decided to take a walk around the hood tonight. I left my candy on a table on the front porch. Still there, and I’m sad. I truly don’t need to eat it.
I only passed three groups of trick-or-treaters. One was a group of three teenagers. The other two were little kids with parents. And though I passed some decorated houses, it was just so quiet.
But, you know what I heard that made me happy? Little voices shouting “thank-you” as they walked back to the street where their parents waited. It reminded me, in the words of TAB, “There’s hope for sure”.
“Still, ghosts have a way of finding your new address.” – From All Over but the Shoutin’ by Rick Bragg
I have found this to be true more than once. I thought when we moved from Winter Haven back to Jacksonville years ago I was going to leave some ghosts behind. But problems often have a way of following you.
The weight of lies will bring you down
And follow you to every town 'cause
Nothing happens here that doesn't happen there
So, when you run make sure you run
To something and not away from 'cause
Lies don't need an aeroplane to chase you anywhere
- The Weight of Lies/The Avett Brothers
Now there are different ghosts, memories. Memories can be good or bad. Or both. But, either way, they have found me and will not let me go.
Last October Chuck and I waited excitedly for our copy of Closer Than Together on vinyl to arrive. I’d heard a few songs ahead of time, others were brand new the first time we listened. Some songs took a while to grow on me, but I came to love them all, with New Woman’s World being the exception. But, a few packed a real punch. Like We Americans. The more I listened, the more I loved it. A few weeks after our record arrived, we got to hear it sung in concert (and sing along) in Pelham, Alabama. It was powerful.
The music of the Avett Brothers makes me happy and sad all at once. It will forever be their music that brings me back to these last few years Chuck and I had together.
Today is our 41st anniversary. I can’t help but think of my parents who had 41 years of marriage. Less than two months later Dad was gone. I didn’t realize then just how young he was, just 63. Mom was younger than I am now when he died, just 59.
Mom and Dad started dating when she was 14, he was 18. They married on November 25th after Mom had graduated from high school that spring. Less than two years later my brother was born. I was born on the evening of their fourth anniversary. Eventually my younger brother came along.
Mom and Dad did not have much growing up. Neither one went to college, but Dad became a very successful businessman. He worked hard to provide for his family and Mom worked hard at home and stayed involved in the various activities of her children.
My parents weren’t very demonstrative, maybe because they didn’t have a lot of hugs growing up. But I knew they loved me, and in their later years they learned to express it physically.
I am thankful for the example of my parents. I am thankful for the 41 years I’ve had with my husband. I’m thankful for the children we have been given and the grandchildren.
And said husband surprised me this morning with tickets to see our favorite band.
“It does not require many words to speak the truth.”- Chief Joseph, Nex Perce, from The Wisdom of Native Americans, compiled by Kent Nerburn
So I have listened to The Avett Brothers new album Closer Than Together over and over, and my favorite song keeps changing. Tell the Truth has been a fav for a few weeks. I feel like there is a message in it for me. So I keep listening.
“I wanna make amends, but where do I start? Tell the truth to yourself And the rest will fall in place”
“The Scott Avett-penned Tell the Truth, is a song about, ‘Well, where do I start? How do I start to change things?'” he muses. “The only thing I can do is with me.” –The Boot
“It’s one of these songs where one phrase is like the thesis statement. I think it’s a powerful concept that if you will just tell the truth to yourself, the rest will fall in place.” –Paste Magazine
So, the Avett Brothers concert last night was great! I’ll write more about it later. They played a song that I wasn’t real familiar with: Distraction #74. There was a verse that took me back to my freshman year of college.
So give me a try at describing just how difficult it is. When you kinda love two girls to figure out which one you miss. Stumble away from your stairway with your perfume on my clothes. Well I kinda loved two girls but now I’ve kinda lost ’em both.
This could have been sung by Jack, though he didn’t really love me. He came to school on the heels of his high school girlfriend, Kathy. But, she was having none of it. Kathy and I lived in the same dorm, same floor, and were familiar with each other.
So, Jack and I met and started dating. His fraternity “Big Brother” and my sorority “Big Sister” were engaged, and that threw us together even more. By and by he and Kathy began dating again, also. Around Valentine’s Day he had the bright idea to send us both flowers. On the same day. To the same dorm. The girls at the front desk figured out what was going on and called us both down to get our flowers. Instead of the expected cat fight, we talked it out, decided he was an idiot, and we became friends. Jack did not like that one bit!
The following year (1978) I got married and Kathy was there to help serve the cake and punch. The last time I saw her was in 1985. I would love to find her now. I haven’t seen Jack since I left school in 1978. All that hilarious drama came flooding back last night when I heard that song.
Today is The Avett Brothers concert in Pelham, Alabama. As hard as it is to listen to sometimes, I sure hope they play No Hard Feelings.
“Why does it seem so often to be a human quality to forget those who have done good things for us, and to remember those who have hurt us?” – from Sold Into Egypt by Madeleine L’Engle.
“Even as a tiny girl, she would just absorb the meanness of people around her, and as that strange girl slapped her, Margaret literally turned the other cheek. ‘I just took it,’ she said sixty years later. ” – from Ava’s Man by Rick Bragg