"Don't be scared, just enjoy your ride..."
Music has always been a connection point for me, country music namely. Not the new, hip-hop crap. The old stuff, the cowboy and Texas stuff. They write from the heart about life, love, pain, loss, and success. I don't need anyone else to understand what a song means to me because it very well could mean something different to someone else.
I also connect songs with people, places, and events in my life that have made an impact. An impact isn't always good per se, I believe you can learn in every situation in life. If you don't pull learning from every situation and instead dwell on tough emotions that situation caused, you will be stuck and not move forward in growth. It's taken a long time for me to really have an understanding of that mentality and truly implement it in my life but I'm so thankful that I have.
That's where the song this line is from comes into play. It's from the Chris Ledoux song "The Ride". The first time I heard it Bradley was playing it on the acoustic guitar. Apparently I had an obvious look on my face because he said, "You've never heard that song?" No, I hadn't. I loved Chris Ledoux music but had never heard that one and it was amazing. The first time he pulled it up online the version was a bit crackly and not auto tuned, just Chris and his guitar, just as Bradley had been playing it. The poetry of a song often makes a deeper impact than just blatantly saying the words, in this case it was both. I loved this song and understood the meaning, mostly, right away. But it would be 6 years later before in my heart I connected and lived the meaning of this song.
Mulling over my thoughts in writing this and listening to the song now still brings tears to my eyes. How different my life would be had I not heeded the words and continued to live life scared of taking chances, worried about failure, and not willing to make hard sacrifices to chase my dreams. I see so many people around me that are living the way I was. Not that it is bad. I had gone to college, I had gotten a good job, I had started a small business, I was living in my hometown and saving for my future. None of that was bad, but I didn't take any risks or seek any fun beyond what I knew. I don't mean the life-threatening kind of risks, I mean the kind of risks you take when you ask "why not?" as opposed to why? The risks that you take because you never know the cool people you will meet or the new things you might learn or the fun you might have. I didn't do that, I didn't seek more. Until I started asking the "Why not?" question, I hadn't realized how much I had something missing from my life. There was no sense of adventure, there was no continued life education, there was no mystery. I had my head down in the hum drum and didn't even notice how great the things around me were, let alone what else could have been had I just been a bit more open to it. I needed that openness, that mindfulness, I think everyone needs that. It keeps us alive and excited and going everyday. I'm not saying don't be content and grateful for what you have because that is absolutely essential, if you aren't, then you can't move forward with this type of thinking.
Our 21st century lives are all about have to go to work so we can pay the bills so we can feed the kids so we can clean the house so they can grow up and start the whole process over again. Tonight, stop for a second, grab the hand of your spouse and just watch the sunset. Enjoy the sure purity and God's grace of the lives we get to lead. Take a minute to reflect on why you are doing what you're doing. Are you doing it because it brings enjoyment to your life? Are you looking around at each piece of your life and truly seeing it for what it is? Are you making time to just go with the flow and live in. Stay up a little late to visit with an old friend, yes, you may be a little tired at work the next day, but it'll be worth it.the moment? Get off your phone or your computer. Build a bonfire, tell stories with your friends. Take a moment to breath in the awesome life you've created for yourself. Then take a chance on something you've seen only as a dream. Why not?
It's not always about the extravagant things in life, it's the little ones too. For me some of the best times are in the truck with Bradley singing at the top of our lungs to our favorite song or having our tiny house crammed with twice as many people as it can hold but is filled with the sound of chatter and laughter and clanking drinks and the sighs of full bellies after dinner. Without this mentality my life would be much different. I'll never dwell on the could have been, just live the day on the what is and what else could be. Bradley once told me, "There's a reason your windshield is so big and your rear view is so small." Know where you came from but don't be afraid of where you might go.
"Sit tall in the saddle, hold your head up high, keep your eyes fixed where the trail meets the sky. Live like you ain't afraid to die. Don't be scared, enjoy your ride."