What I remember most about Jayne Trapnell – a woman I have yet to meet in person – is the gift she sent me some eight or nine years ago.
Did I mention that we’d never met?
Jayne and I connected through blogging, way back in the day. I think the common link was the Real Live Preacher blog, where both of us were commenting – and linking back to our own little blogs. I opened the door to my private, processing blog to Jayne, where she read the words I flung into the internet air about divorce, and fear, and pain, and spiritual growth. She read, and she commented; at some point I must have said something about not having any decent sort of speaker system to play music, because one day I opened a package from Georgia to find that Jayne had confiscated a portable speaker dock for iPods from her husband – and sent it to me.
Did I mention that I’d never met this generous woman?
In years since, we’ve communicated online. I get a Christmas card, every year, with her talented son Sam in the photo. We’ve spoken by phone once, and it lit up my world, because she sounded exactly like I’d imagined her. She’s continued to write honestly about her gains and losses, her spiritual growth, her family, and all of the things she’s passionate about. (Find her blog here; you’ll be blessed.) I find her to be a great inspiration.
And one of these days, we’re going to meet in person.
When my friend Beth put out the challenge to share about an album that influenced your childhood or adolescence, nothing particularly came to mind. But, yesterday as I headed to work, I could find nothing on XM I really wanted to hear, and so I switched over to my iPod. I smiled as CSN started to play, and the memories came flooding back…
It was the beginning of the summer of 1980, and I was 18. Not really an adolescent, but getting ready to head to college in the fall. And, as it always goes, I met a boy. John was an intense guy, and we fell head over heels that summer. Well, the actual truth is that he did. We were headed for colleges in different states, and I knew that did not bode well for continuing a relationship. But, for those months, it was a heady and intense time. He was kind enough to help me equip my pea green 1973 Mercury Montego for the journeys that would lie ahead, driving to and from college two hours from home. He removed my factory AM radio and installed a radio that gave me AM and FM! And, he also installed a cassette player which I could disconnect and put under my seat for safe storage. It would sit in the middle of my floorboard on one of those stylish plastic cup/tissue holders that were so popular in the day, and I could play my cassette tapes as I traveled. Boy, I was feeling pretty uptown.
All during that summer, we’d listen to CSN, as we’d head to the lake to enjoy time on his family’s boat. I learned every song on that album by heart. When the fall came, and I headed to school, it was one of the cassettes I’d listen to as I traveled…
When I listened to this particular song yesterday, it was not John that came to mind, but rather, my very first trip home once I’d left. It was probably a few months into my starting college. As I came across the mountain I traveled to get home, this song was playing. When I rounded the bend, and saw my hometown for the first time in months, the realization of how much I’d grown shook me. I was overwhelmed with gratitude for all my parents had done to nurture and provide this opportunity for me. I realized for the first time what “home” meant, and tears poured down my cheeks, as I was humbled by how much I missed home and the love that surrounded me there. When I got home, I shared this with my Dad, who put his arms around me with a knowing smile on his face, and said, “It’s a good feeling when life humbles you, Jayne.” I felt I was finally an adult.
I lost my sweet Daddy five months ago, and the memories that flooded back yesterday were even more poignant, when I recalled that exchange. That is the power of music. It takes us back to pivotal moments in our lives. It conjures up so many emotions, and allows our senses to be back in a time we know shaped who we became.
…I have seen the changes, it ain’t easy rearranging and it gets harder as you get older, and farther away as you get closer, and I’m still wondering how…