In 1997, my life was in the middle of major changes when I saw that an old musical favorite of mine was coming to town to sign copies of a book that he had co-authored with his wife. I knew virtually nothing about this book, but what I did know was how at various points in my life his music had offered a soundtrack for the emotions and struggles that I had experienced particularly in my 20’s and early 30’s and something in me felt a need to go to his book signing.
If you’ve been reading my blog for long you already know that storytelling is so throughly a part of who I am that the idea that I might wait in line at a bookstore to have my newly purchased book autographed without mentioning the significance of his music and then quietly slip away was not even in the realm of possibility.
As I stepped up to meet him with a long line of people at my back, I considered how I might communicate the importance one song in particular had for me during my divorce from my daughter’s father and how I had listened to it over and over hanging on to the words like a life raft when I felt as if I might drown in all the sadness and disappointment I felt in myself and my failures.
Although very few of us are entirely responsible for the end of a marriage, for a while I believed that burden was all mine and I cried my way through years of pain that while unrelated in some ways surfaced during the final days and weeks of my marriage. I wanted more for a child of mine than two parents living separate lives shuttling back and forth between two houses and I struggled with keeping my own childhood sorrows from overshadowing my need to ensure that she felt safe and loved.
It was during this time while dressing for work one morning that I saw Kenny Loggins sing a song on a morning television show and listened as the words in his song mirrored my own experience. I remember stopping what I was doing at the time and just sitting as I watched … feeling for the first time that maybe things would be alright. The words in his song echoed exactly what I had been feeling and later I listened as he talked about the changes in his life and the joy that was now present.
His song had given me hope and a bit of solace back then and made me see that I was not alone in my sad experience and I as I stood there waiting I thought, I’m going to tell him. For a moment I considered, what if he thinks I’m silly, stupid, or God forbid, groupie-ish, but in the end I decided to share the importance hearing that particular song had for me during a time of crisis.
What you see in the photograph below is me telling him my story. I had given my camera to the woman behind me to take my picture with him and as I was talking I knelt down for a minute so my position shifted from what you see here. I told him of that morning only a few years earlier and how the message in his song had provided a starting place for healing and a form of forgiveness that I while I was still working on for myself, was slowly coming together after years of not trusting my own voice and my own sense that my feelings and dreams were just as valuable as those who wanted to be in relationship with me.
Kenny Loggins - Elizabeth Harper
As I told him my story, his eyes began to tear up … filling close to overflowing while we spoke and not because of the sadness in my story, but I believe now having read his book, because of the similarity. I think he was touched by my story because he had lived parts of it himself, different in ways to mine certainly, but the same at the core.
The woman who followed me in line brought my camera to me after having her book autographed and said, ” You made him cry … what did you say to him? ” Without going into my whole story, I told her that I just shared an important moment in my life and how one song had made a difference. Having taken a risk to share something so special to me, I can’t tell you how pleased I was that it was received in the way I had intended.
There’s a release that comes in speaking your truth. It doesn’t need to be public or released in a song as has often been his way, but sharing your story can be a gift to someone who just might need the message in your own experience. Most of us do this everyday never really knowing the impact our words may have.
I’ve been speaking my truth here at GOTJ for the last 24 months. Today marks two years since I wrote my first blog post at giftsofthejourney.com where my first 82 posts still live. In February of 2009, I moved GOTJ to this WordPress account and during the last two years the combined total of 338 posts have garnered 76,853 page views and the kind and generous comments of many of you likely reading this today.
I want to take a minute to thank you for including my words and images in your daily life. Even though I don’t always have a chance to respond on the comments left here, please know that they are so appreciated and mean a great deal to me. Quite often as you’ve shared bits of your own story in response to something I’ve written I have been moved to tears as Kenny Loggins was that day and I am always grateful whenever my story connects in some useful way with your own.
I’m not sure what Kenny Loggins was writing in everyone else’s book, but he could not have picked better words for me personally than those two you see at the bottom of the page,” Trust Love.” I frequently tell people that I could not have imagined that I would ever have the life I have now, but you all know my story if you’ve been reading GOTJ for long.
Trusting love is what brought me to this sweet life with John and the awareness that change had its own gifts to offer led me to create Gifts Of The Journey and a chance to share the experience with anyone interested in their own gifts and their own journey. My thanks to each of you who through Gifts of the Journey are now a part of mine.
John Winchurch & Elizabeth Harper - 2008