If you’ve ever taken a drive through the back roads of Texas, you know how beautiful it can be. You also know you’ll find yourself alone with your thoughts down our country roads. There’s not much playing on the radio but you are sure to find a country song without much trouble. That’s where I found myself recently, on the back roads, singing to the radio, listening to Texas country, lost in my thoughts. Personally, what I love about country music is the fabric, how it mirrors real life, the way you can find your own story in the grains no matter where you’re from. If you listen closely you’ll find yourself in a country song. I found my story down an old dirt road, passing through numerous county roads while the radio played on. It's actually quite beautiful how you can find and lose yourself in country music, deep within the many layers of its uncomplicated storytelling. And if you so happen to be driving down an old dirt road listening to the radio you can bet it will both stir up and lay down memories long past overdue!
One song in particular sticks out in my mind from my recent back roads trip. As I listened to Jake Owen belt out, “We all want what we ain’t got”, suddenly life made sense. All my wondering thoughts stopped and a light bulb of sorts went off inside not just my head but in my heart, maybe deeper even, shining a bit of wisdom into my soul too. And yes, all because of a country song! Life lesson #18 is about genuine appreciation, recognizing it can come in many forms. But let’s not forget, life can absolutely be found down an old dirt road! Go on, buckle up, we're about to venture down a long, winding, old dirt road today...
Here’s a little bit of Jake’s wisdom: “We all want what we don’t got. We ain’t happy where we are. All I want is what I have. We all wish it didn’t hurt, when you try your best and it doesn’t work. Goodbye is such a painful word. We all wish it didn’t hurt.” These words resonated with me, deeply. Not because I want something I don’t have but largely because I realized I am thankful for what I DO have. I found peace within myself surprisingly listening to those country songs. It wasn’t just a moment where I grasped the situation for what it was, a loss beyond my control, but the grace and ability to let it go broke thru unexpectedly, leaving the memories in an old worn out tattered box right there on that old dirt road, hands on the wheel, tail lights burning in my rear view mirror.
Sadly, I realized some people in life can’t let go or allow wounds to heal. It’s an all or nothing deal until they’ve burned every bridge or strangled the life out of you. They take and take until everything is gone and there’s nothing left to give, then blame you. Unfortunately, we sit there in a daze, scratching our heads, standing around wondering what we could have done differently, asking ourselves what in tarnation happened! Thankfully once we finally realize there’s no fixing what’s broke sometimes or salvaging the left over pieces we can move on. We can’t save those who won’t save themselves! You just have to take inventory, say goodbye and leave the past behind you. There are always going to be those folks out there who can’t be happy with what they have. Unfortunately these are the kind of driven folks who can't share in the happiness, instead they would rather be miserable than have to share or be part of anything. Simply they have to have it all or nothing at all! I know this from my own personal experience, you can allow it to drain you dry or set your boundaries and keep moving down that old dirt road.
What has caused me to sit, take a deep breath and ponder all this? Hum, that's a loaded question but if I'm putting my cards out on the table I'd tell you recently I was accused of being unable to share, being raised selfish, incapable of love and being a downright horrible, terrible person. This makes me sad honestly, especially in view of who I have been raised by and what this says about my parents. Now let me be very clear, I am 100 percent capable of being all of those things. I am in no way perfect, I mess up, I mishandle situations, I am human. I screw up all the time but the core of my character is not found in those angry accusations. What I realize in this whole situation is something I like to call the box theory. There are people in life no matter how hard you try, you will never please. You can love them, give them all you have and still it’s not enough. Think of a box, now fill it with everything you have and then start giving away the contents. No matter how much you give, if you’re left with anything, some will still think you have too much. Their box may be 99 % full, still those kind of folks ONLY see that 1%! They have such an empty space inside themselves they have to fill their own box with what you have left. Just a glimpse inside your box even though it may only have 1% left is enough to cause insecurity as these folks simply see you have something they don't. At the end of the day what they have is empty space and a need to continue filling their own box past capacity. Is it selfish to say no, to set boundaries and ask them to appreciate the blessings within their own box? If that's the case then I guess I am a terrible person, unworthy and incapable of sharing. I think what we have to understand is there are those in this life who will reject us no matter what we give, no matter how hard we try, or how much we may love them. Many in this life sadly can’t receive love nor can they give love despite how badly they want it.
Sadly, life is full of folks holding back anger and grudges whether you have truly wronged them or have anything actually to do with their core issue or not. In my situation I know I am not the problem, but the idea of who I am is. I did two things wrong, 1) I was born. 2) I haven’t died yet. Sadly, as crazy as that sounds, it’s the crux of the problem. The bottom line, I exist. No it doesn’t make sense, but it doesn’t have to I guess. I could spend the rest of my life wondering what went wrong, what I could have done differently, but the truth is I have no control over any of it. I am not going to roll over and die just because my existence makes anyone uncomfortable. Life is too short and too precious to fill up my box with any more needless hurt, made up nonsense and drama. My plan involves letting it all go, leaving it on that old dirt road with a note, free of charge. Yes, my box is full, and I am fully capable and willing to share the contents within, but not because my arm is twisted behind my back or because anyone feels they have a right to it.
So at the end of our drive down this old dusty dirt road today, I’ve learned a thing or two. No, I’m not going to get drunk on a plane, and nope I definitely won’t be wasting whiskey drowning out anything and I’m thinking I won’t find myself in the back of a cop car either. What I do know is my life is amazingly alive right now but just like Florida Georgia Line belts out, “The road comes right to my window” and it always will as long as you know the way home. So just like a country song, I’m gonna count my blessings and acknowledge but for the grace of God, go I.
It’s kinda amazing what you can find at the end of an old dirt road isn't it?