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Monday, June 27, 2011

This Little Light of Mine

I have always had high hopes and dreams.  As a kid, I was very into drama and convinced I was going to be a glamorous film star.  I watched the Academy Awards every year, mentally composing my future acceptance speech and deciding which style of gown I would wear.  Though the focus of my ambitions changed over the years, their scope remained the same.  I was going to write a world-changing novel.  My songs were going to turn the world of country music on its ear.  Whatever it was I was doing or planning to do, I was not only going to make a living at it, I was going to be a legend.  

I went to law school really just to buy myself more time for my creative pursuits.  Halfway through law school I decided I was actually going to be a lawyer, but I was still not just going to be any lawyer.  I was going to be the best lawyer ever.  I was going to be one of those recognizable, Johnny Cochran kind of lawyers.  I was still going to be on a magazine cover, perfect business suit, old-fashioned in one hand and cigar in the other.  Oh yeah, I had my cover shot already laid out.  Then I would probably go on to be a consultant on CNN, a la Greta Van Susteren.  My life was still going to be extraordinary.

I am not ashamed of the fact that I was and am a dreamer.  Where would the world be without us?  The problem is:  I burn out easily.  I'm a bit sulphuric that way.  A lot of passion and lot of enthusiasm...for a very short period of time.  The actual work it would take to accomplish any of my highfalutin goals was exhausting and quite frankly boring.  And in my youth, the last thing I could stand to be was bored.

So in the summer of my twenty-seventh year, to quote a John Denver favorite, I burned out on the whole law thing, packed my truck and my guitar (which, incidentally, I can't play) and headed down to Austin.  I was channeling Jack Kerouac at the time and that seemed a pretty good dream in and of itself.  I was part beat poet and a lot delusional.  Anyway, it was a stepping stone to the next dream of becoming the female equivalent of Robert Earl Keen.  All I needed to do was learn the guitar, start doing open mics, get discovered and I'd be touring with Willie Nelson or The Dixie Chicks before I knew it.

Not so much.  Matchstick that I was, I went as far as buying a "Guitar for Dummies" book but never even cracked it open.  I had a series of interesting misadventures which led, not to fame and fortune, but to marriage and family.  My twenty-five year old self would have been horrified if she could see into the future.  My thirty-four year old self, looking back, is grateful beyond words.

Some people look back on the dreams of their youth and see all the missed opportunities, all the sacrifices, all the little deaths of the "could have beens," and despair.  I am saved from this.  I look back on my life and see that it could have been...a disaster.  Maybe I could have been a glamorous film star, a famous singer/songwriter, a best-selling author, or the best litigator since Perry Mason.  I could have been extraordinary by the world's standards.  I could have disappeared so far into myself and my ego that, after that brief, blinding flash of light had burned out, there would have been nothing left to save me.  Because if your life is that bright and shiny, you are blind to your need for God.

Having Eddie made my life extraordinary.  It taught me how desperately and completely I needed my God and that, in my need, He was there.  I still have high hopes and dreams.  I dream of using my testimony to introduce people to the love of my life, Jesus Christ.  To bring people from darkness to light.  I dream of raising my children to know and serve the Lord.  My dreams aren't a flash in the pan anymore.  I'm not a kitchen match; I'm a candle.  I may not have many kilowatts but I'm steady and true.  And I hope to ignite a fire in my children and watch their little lights shine.  And hope that our family's love for God, for the Way, the Truth and the Light, will ignite some others and some others and some get the picture.  My life is simple, but never boring, because I approach it with the knowledge that it is a gift.  So, let it shine, let it shine, let it shine. 

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