My husband and I bought our house a few years ago. The first time we walked in the door it was into a room that had been added on. Immediately I said, “this is my music room.” Seven years prior the owner tried to drink himself to death. The sorrowful loss of his wife drove him. He never came home again. It’s as if God was saying “I saved it for you.” Because that man was a musician and that too, was his music room.

His daughter lived next door. (pictured above) Janice, had bought the corner of her father’s land and built a house of her own. We got to know her well and before too long I was helping her shovel goat poop so my garden could get some great fertilizer.

We got on the topic of music because she had lost her voice once after cleaning the goat pen. It took her a very long time to get it back. She was a singer too… just like her father.

As a young mom, however, she gave it up. She had opportunities to tour and let them go. She believed that she couldn’t be a good mom AND a singer. Many years later she’d sing in church but never at the capacity she once dreamed.

As she shared the story she paused and looked at me and said: “do both.” She had regretted not pursuing music. She felt she had missed her chance. It was only months later that she was starting to get sick and at times losing her voice again. Then came the diagnosis. She had ALS.

I remember grieving deeply that she couldn’t sing anymore. On one hand, I’d question how much it really mattered. Was singing really part of someone’s identity? Can you really feel lost or like a part of you has died when you lose something like that? On the other hand, I imagined myself unable to sing and it was heart-wrenching.

She declined slowly but the last couple months were devastatingly fast. And as though she was never here… she was gone.

Except for me, she is still here. I look up all the time across our pond and wish she was walking out there too, feeding her ducks or milking her goats.

“Do both.” She said. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard those words resonate deep down in my soul.

She had no idea that for years I yo-yoed on this very thing. Could I do both? What would I be teaching my children if I do? What would I be teaching them if I don’t? Do life, bring them along… Can I tour? Can I be successful if I don’t? The debate wrecked me many times but I always found a capacity in which I could pick up the guitar and remind myself that it was a part of me. So no matter what I did with it… I had to at least do it.

This really is why some of my mantras are “warrior” and “fight.” Because most of the battles we face are mental. They are emotional. They are spiritual. Very few of us have faced a villain and had to take up our sword and fight but most of us have faced the villain inside.

Janice was an astounding human being. She loved with all of herself. She didn’t take any mission lightly and she didn’t do anything halfway. Whatever it was she dove into it. But she didn’t believe she could do music. I heard her say so many times that one day she would. She was meant to.

I hate a few common phrases out there. “It wasn’t meant to be.” Hogwash.

“It must not have been God’s will.” Hogwash.

“If it was meant to be it would have been.” Hogwash.

“I’m powerless to change my life.” Hogwash.

She was meant to sing. She was meant to impart beauty. She was destined for lifting others up through song. I know she did some in church. But that lady had a platform that she never mounted.

Don’t take your talents to the grave. Don’t bury any part of you just because you don’t know how to do it. Learn how. You have the power to change. You have the power to turn your life around. To make it what you want it to be. You have the power to learn anything you don’t already know how to do and then you have the power to go do it.

I don’t gig five nights a week. I don’t tour. I don’t have several band practices a week either. It looks different for me. But I’m doing it. I’m doing both. I hope my kids will never let anything hold them back.

No season is permanent. No mountain is impossible. No ocean is too vast. Climb. Swim. Change. Grow.

Just go.

Much Love,

Wendy

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