The things we really want are free


“Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.”

— Plato

Music, so good for the soul, has been cut from many public schools.

Even for those who profess not to care much for it, music has been proven again and again to calm a racing heart rate, soothe a broken heart and draw people of all ages from a self-imposed shell.

Music often helps put life’s best lessons into lyrics worth sharing.

Within the past few days, and perhaps it hit my ear in a different way because I was celebrating yet another birthday, (hey, wait a minute! Didn’t I just have one six months ago?) I noticed a few bits of lyric I can’t get out of my head.

The climb to attain what seems to matter is set to music by the group Little Big Town in a song titled Free.

The song describes “all the shiny cars, perfect yards, chasing store-bought dreams; we worked so hard to have it all when all the things we want are free.”

The things that define us and ground us are so simply explained:

“Got your accent from your hometown

Sense of humor from your dad

Get your green eyes from your mother

God knows you can’t buy that.”

Within a few short days recently, I reconnected with several people with whom I long ago attended church and Sunday school, several thanks to Facebook, and one old friend I so happily saw at a doctor’s office after not seeing her for many years.

Our little white church in the middle of nowhere held us all like family for those early, impressionable years.

Our vibrant memories all match: We can name our Sunday school teachers and which pew was always theirs during church services.

We each dressed in our Sunday best and shiny shoes and learned to sit still even if the Easter dress and matching bonnet were so itchy it seemed nearly impossible.

We all remember saving our pennies to place in the white church bank on the altar for our birthday.

And each one of us can sing those old hymns by heart, still held close in our collective memories.

I can so clearly picture sweet Hazel playing the organ with such ease, leading us all through verse after verse of the gold standard hymns.

When the whole world seems on the verge of implosion, when the noise of contrariness and confusion seem about to pull us all in opposite directions, I hear the lyrics softly playing in my head: “I come to the garden alone….” It soothes my heartache every single time.

Wishing the same for you and yours throughout this blessed season.


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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.



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