My hope with my music is that when I sing the songs I’ve written, the right person will hear the right words at the right time. I’ve been writing songs now for darn near 48 years. I long ago gave up the idea that music would be what made me money in the world, but I’ve never given up the idea that music will and does make me rich. It has, through the people I meet, the shared stories and experiences, the common hopes for our world. It’s been amazing really.
I was on the stage, having the opportunity to play thirty minutes worth of tunes, so that listeners could get a feel for who I am and what I represent as I moved onto the next stage of the Sunset Country Spotlight competition. I first saw him with his mother somewhere around the third song of my set. A beautiful, curly haired little boy about four years old, working his heart out, making his legs move the bright yellow/green walker he was strapped into around the tarmac of the parking lot that had been taken over for the festival. I felt my heart smile.
I don’t think I’ve performed anywhere in the past ten years that I haven’t built Shane’s song into the set list. He’s been gone for over a decade now, but he’s still with me with every breath I take. He’s still my boy, and I still celebrate his life and his lessons whenever opportunity allows. So it was yesterday.
I did a brief introduction to the song for the audience, and was barely into the second line of it, when the child who’d caught my eye came into sight again. This time he headed right to the shade of the tent set up for the stage. I’m not sure what drew him and his Mom in…maybe just an escape from the heat. Maybe she’d heard some of my introduction. I don’t know, but there they were. I saw him moving to the music, and noticed Mom starting to pay closer attention to the lyrics. As it continued along, she took him out of the walker he’d be working so hard in and lifted him into her arms as they began to dance together to ‘Shane’s Song’. His beautiful curly head swayed back and forth, the smile brilliant on his face. My eyes began to water. It was all I could do to get through the song, but I had to keep going.
By the time I finished my set they were gone. I don’t know what Shane’s song did for them, but I know what it did for me yesterday as I watched Mother and child dancing together to the rhythm. It was the reminder that I needed, after a long, tiring three weeks, that all is well. When I do what it is I’m meant to be doing, life unfolds as it is meant to. Curly headed angels show up to remind me that the message of my song still has much purpose and meaning. He also reminded of the fun, laughter and connection that was had in days of old, when music made Shane and I get up and dance to the tunes. It was so important that I was reminded of that as I was.
After I’d finished, I rejoined friends of mine from Germany who were with us. The husband was complimenting me on the set, and in particular on “Shane’s Song”, then asked, “Do you practice that smile that comes across your face when you sing his song?”
I told him no, then he continued, “I noticed it was just so radiant when you were singing about him. So much brighter, it’s almost angelic. How is that?”
I didn’t have an answer, and in truth no one has ever noticed, or at least mentioned that to me before. But I thought about his words and realized, that it most likely is more angelic and radiant when I’m singing it, because when I do, angels never fail to appear to keep me going.
Thank you to the little guy in the brilliant walker. You reminded me once again of the joy in challenge, and of the reason that my work on Shane’s behalf will never be finished.