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A Rambling Road, Music, and Old-Lady Hands.

four kids on the lawn
Megan, Andrew, and "The Babies."

I don't listen to music often. I love music. I was a musician once, before anxiety got the better of me. Alas, I have children, who have impeccable timing, and in the middle of my fondest musical memories will interrupt with something that distracts me. But today I dropped two kids in town, and on the way home I turned my entire library up, and put it on shuffle.

Nothing can take my mind on a trip down memory lane like music...

Images raced through my mind - dancing with Aunt Lynda (Barrick, Nee Cook) in the kitchen of our teeny house on Lincoln, behind the old Big Boy Market, when I was... I'm not sure... four? "Talk of poems, and prayers, and promises, and things that we believe in. How sweet it is to love someone; how right it is to care..." If my dad was anti-war, my aunt was a full-blown, hippy with her long hair, sans make up, and bell bottoms with fitted sweaters all in earth tones.


And in a flash, I was 17, sitting in the passenger seat, while my dad slept in the back of the van and Mom drove.

We listened to James Taylor and Bob Dylan for weeks on end, which I loved even though they were oldies by the late 1980's... "In my mind I'm going to Carolina. Can't you see the sun shining? Can't you just see the moon shining? Ain't it just like a friend of mine..." A three week road trip spent visiting relatives, writing and mailing love letters from motel lobbies, to whomever was lucky enough to claim that I was his girlfriend for the moment... rewinding cassette tapes because there was no radio service in the middle of Nowhere, USA... Too cool for my parents; arguing with my dad about whether or not I had been flirting with a cute, young driver of a LOUD car in Dodge City, Kansas at dinner time... I was not "sashaying," just smiling encouragingly.


Fast forward to my late 20's and the only relationship prior to marrying Tom that holds significance.

Lisa Loeb and I journeyed together... "You said that I was naive, and I thought that I was strong. I thought, "I can leave, I can leave." Oh but now I know that I was wrong, 'cause I missed you."

In a breath I felt the barely beating heart shatter like a broken mirror into a million pieces. I waded through the stop lights today, seeing clearly the cloud of dissociation that I lived in for at least a couple of years afterward. Like death, but worse... much worse.

Today is stunning, and I don't have much time for wallowing back in those years. The sun is out. It is 73 degrees... I rolled down my window and played with the wind currents, seeing my now old-lady hands, as strong as they are, and thought about the stories those hands could tell... Failure and success; loss and gain; love, heartbreak and contentment. I put down the window when Joseph Zwanziger sang, a cappella, "I surrender all. ...all to thee, my Blessed Savior, I surrender all." and it was 2006 or 2007, and I was blessed with babies, the feeling of miraculously fat arms holding onto me as if I were the only friend the babies ever had; all of the literal snapshots I took with my heart and mind and stored for days such as these...

Andrew, Megan, and "The Babies," (later they became and remain "The Boys" though we have two additional boys), and me, somehow survived what felt like thousands of deployments while sitting in church at The Father's House in Vacaville... in an old shopping center, which was a BIG upgrade from the VV Community Center, where we met when I first began attending with Tom. And there I was with Lee, Steve, and Joel... And explaining over one of a hundred dinners we shared with our outstanding friends, that I was a bit concerned about the overt praise and worship, because I had only been to extremely conservative Southern Baptist Convention churches, and doesn't the Bible say...???

And then Lee said, (after leaving Vietnam in early childhood with one sister and her dad - an American - just in time, but waiting years before her mom and other siblings could join them), replied, "I'm blessed to live in a country where we are free to worship God any way we choose."

At that second, the scales fell away from my eyes, and it no longer mattered to me that there were young, strangely dressed, tattooed people jumping to the rhythm as they worshiped at a physical alter but the spiritual feet of Jesus.... I felt blessed that I was privileged to see them worshipping the Savior.


And as I turned onto my own road it played... Francesca Batastelli "Fear you don't own me, there ain't no room in this story, I ain't got time for you tellin' me what I'm not, like you know me. Well guess what? I know who I am..."

With the first three notes, I was watching Evan in the passenger seat, as I drove down the back roads to Home Depot or Costco in Gig Harbor, watching Evan, (just before he became too cool to do so), worshiping in his unique way... because "I am strong, and I am free... got my own identity..." and the peace that came from knowing that he is uniquely and wonderfully made... and he will be okay when he's ready.

If I'd had time I would have relived every moment of my life, I'm sure... but I don't really have time. I have so much yet to do and experience in the now.

And now you know the second reason I don't listen to music much... It's exhausting.

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