Monday, June 15, 2009

Good Times in Branson

We Found a Golden Nugget!

We returned last evening from a trip to Branson, provided by my sis and BIL. What a treat it was! We thought our Branson days might be over, because I can't manage all the "things" it takes to get Don in and out now, but BIL made all that manageable.

We did a lot of fun things, but there was one highlight that I think I'll remember (and Don will remember) for the rest of my life. We wanted to go to a show on Friday evening, but didn't know what we wanted to see. Of course, hubby prefers bluegrass, but we were having a hard time finding a venue to fit the bill. We finally settled on a family show appearing at the IMAX called Crossties. The fiddler was a cajun champion, and he was good. The 19-year-old girl played the stand-up bass, and she was one of the best I'd heard. The mom provided lead on most of the vocals and played some guitar. But the best was the banjo/guitar/dobro player dad. That guy was AWESOME. Neither Don nor I have ever heard any better. The crowd was small (economy, I guess), so there was a lot of interaction between the performers and the audience. At one point, one of the performers said, "Hey, did you know we have a guitar thumb picker in the audience? He plays with his own bluegrass band in Louisiana?" As soon as it quieted down a bit, my BIL yelled out, "And we have a 5-string banjo picker back here, too!" So, the group invited the guitar picker and Don down to the stage to do a couple songs with them. Don is unable to get down to the stage, so they brought this beautiful $6000+ banjo up to the top row, where we were sitting, for Don to play. The thumb picker was good, and Don played along with that song. Then, it was Don's turn. Unfortunately, he chose a song none of the other musicians knew, but he was game and went ahead with it anyway. He was shaking like a leaf by the time he finished, but they all clapped and yelled, and he was beaming for all he was worth. It was wonderful! I've rarely seen him so excited. It was such fun for him. We took some pictures of the "awesome" banjo picker and my "awesome" honey, which I'm sure will be treasures for Don. The guy gave us his card and asked us to keep in touch. He said we had really touched his life, and he thought Don had such a sweet spirit. (Well, we knew that all along, didn't we?)

I'm thankful for all the golden nuggets God allows us to find along the pathway of life. This was one of those times. Much thanks to my sis and BIL for making it possible.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Death of a Dream?

When I was younger, my life was consumed by gospel music. I played it, sang it, directed it and devoured it. Almost every dimension of my life was somehow touched by music. It was my gift - my minstry. A few years ago, life as I knew it changed. Due to certain circumstances, I was no longer in the ministry of music. To be completely honest, I was lost. It was like cutting off an arm or a leg and having to learn to function with some semblance of normality after the loss. My heart was broken, and my spirit was faltering.

Our lives continued to make changes, and, although God opened up other doors of ministry, music was not one of them - at least not in a substantive way. While I continue to miss it, I've noticed a change in my heart of hearts. I no longer need to minister in music to survive. While I haven't yet decided whether that's a good thing, a bad thing, or simply part of the evolution of my life, it's definitely a change. I quit listening to music at home a while back, because I found myself constantly arranging it for a choir or a group. And that part of my life was gone. Listening to the music just tormented me. I'm opening my heart back up to it again, and find myself able to listen for the pure joy of listening.

As doors in life open and close, we're called upon to make some adjustments that we hadn't foreseen or planned. I may never again in this lifetime actually have a ministry in music, but I'm getting better with that. I have other callings, other gifts. Nobler missions. Death of a dream? I don't really know. Beginning of a new chapter? Definitely.