There’s been a few times in my life when someone will confide in me that a certain song helped to carry them through a difficult time in their life. Though music has always had a profound influence in my life -indeed, it was my college major and practically consumed me -I’ve never really had that experience.
I’d been touched my music -moved my music.
But I’d never been pulled through by it.

I felt a little cheated, in a way. I felt like of ALL people, I should. I mean, I’d taken private music lessons for a few years, majored in music and let it figuratively EAT MY HEAD off. I’d stared at chords, spent hours on one page of music, memorized measures, marched in a marching band, tapped my foot incessantly while counting beats, learned to conduct, learned to analyze, spent annoying amounts of money on camps, sheet music, instrument repair…
and I had no life line song to show for it.

I know that line of thinking is ridiculous. Did I go through all of that JUST to have a song to cling to? Of course not. I did to find a husband!
Okay, that’s not true.
But it did happen.

I guess I just felt a little… what’s the word… robotic about music. Three years of counting and schooling had virtually pulled the emotion out of it for me.

Anyway, I guess I had never had anything really HAPPEN to me -nothing that I needed pulled out of, really. Whenever I’d had a hard go of anything, I had always just pulled myself out.

But life has a way of foiling you. It has a way of challenging you -throwing you down to your knees (whether it’s because you’re too weak to stand or because you’re praying your heart out. Or both. Usually both in my case).

As a younger girl, I sat with my Dad and watched a movie on television.
It was called “Coal Miner’s Daughter” and it told the story of a woman named Loretta Lynn. I’d never heard of her before, and after watching the movie I couldn’t believe I never had. I don’t remember the movie much at all -but I remember how the movie made me feel, and as a result I’ve been a real fan of Loretta’s music since then.
Recently, I’ve spent more time delving into her music.

A few of her songs touch me pointedly -but it’s her, really. It’s her.
She looks like she could be anyone’s neighbor in town, and she sings like it too.

She was born in 1935 -during The Great Depression. She was married very very young (some say 13, some say 14) to a 21-year old army vet. By the time she was 19, she had four kids. Her husband wasn’t a grade-A gentleman by any means. Between his alcoholism and (what I like to call) chain cheating, Loretta had a lot to deal with.

And that’s exactly what I love about her.

Have you ever seen her smile? It lights up her entire face, and there’s LIFE behind it. Could she have shriveled up as a victim? Yes! Would anyone have judged her? Not in the least.
But she didn’t. She didn’t leave her husband. She even went so far as to say, “he never hit me one time that I didn’t hit him back twice”.
That’s what I love about her. NOT that she hits, but that she’s strong. She didn’t wilt before her husband -she stood up for herself constantly.
When you look at her, do you see a victim? A survivor? A martyr?

Absolutely not. Though the terms might apply, they don’t define her. What defines her?
She’s a real woman -unafraid, strong, and funny.
Her songs are full of humor that both gets to the point and makes you laugh.

She took the actions of another and used them to fuel her inspiration when she could have easily used them as a crutch.
She kept her humor. She kept her faith. She kept true to herself.
And she sang songs that sometimes get me through the day.
This one, written by Shel Silverstein, is one of my favorites. Someday when I get pregnant again, I’ll strap on a guitar, balance it on my belly and sing it.

As a fun side note: when she was 24 (and had all those kiddos), her husband bought her a guitar. She taught herself to play and went on to top the charts time after time.

Turns out our Daddies were both 6’3″.

And the best news of all? She has a cookbook. She titled it “You’re Cookin’ It Country” (a play on one of her chart toppers “You’re Lookin’ at Country”).
It’s going in my Amazon cart to-day.

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