Music helps soften life’s bumpy road

I have long considered music to be a gift, quietly taking its place in our lives. It amazes me that a simple tune with just the right lyrics has the power to speak to our needs, to uplift, to bring joy, to soothe an aching soul.

Some of the very oldest songs have the power to unite, carrying us through some of the most trying times we all must face.

Promise

One of my favorite songs from my younger years was a country ballad, one which promised a love so true it offered infinite shielding from heartache and pain throughout the journey of life. I was naive and empty-headed enough to fall for the lovely thought of such a promise. Ah, if only that were possible.

Summer is a time to work harder than ever, but it is also a carefree time in which lots of neighborhood parties are held in my part of the world, and we are blessed by fun, joy-filled times on our wide-open spaces.

No one does it better than the country crew that surrounds us, and it feels great to celebrate life with such family and friends.

August has proven to be a tough month. One of the hardest-working of our neighborhood had invited us to his farm for a chicken and ribs barbecue, complete with grilling teams and a secret ballot voting for the top chef.

The event was still held last night, but in between the invitation and the party, there was a funeral for the host, leaving us all reeling with the shock of sudden loss.

Motto

Read at his memorial, and worn on the back of shirts at the party, was the motto, “Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and screaming, ‘Woo hoo, what a ride!’”

In the midst of all of this, I watched and stood by helplessly as my sister prepared for open heart surgery. Bronchitis that would not go away several months ago is what led to the discovery that rheumatic fever had long ago gone undiagnosed and untreated, damaging her mitral valve over her lifetime.

No matter how many people assure me surgeons perform this amazing feat every single day, and I realize fully that we are so fortunate it can be done, I still feel such helplessness knowing that the big sister who has always watched over me is far away in a hospital, battling incredible pain, ongoing nausea, and facing a long recovery.

Give me an old hymnal and a prayer bench, and let the music carry us through. Sometimes, that is all that we can do.

About the Author

Judith Sutherland, born and raised on an Ohio family dairy farm, now lives on a 70-acre farm not far from the area where her father’s family settled in the 1850s. Appreciating the tranquility of rural life, Sutherland enjoys sharing a view of her world through writing. Other interests include teaching, reading, training dogs and raising puppies. She and her husband have two children, a son and a daughter, in college. More Stories by Judith Sutherland

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