Everyone has an album or two (or thirty) that are particularly meaningful. Albums that mark specific life milestones or carried them through troubled times. Here is the first in a series of periodic posts about the power – and importance – of music in our lives.
A couple of years ago right after my wedding, I got really sick. (Cue the jokes.) I was very tired with a horrible headache and could barely do anything. Over the course of a couple of days I went downhill really quickly, going to my family doctor who initially just thought it was a virus, then back, then on to the ER. After a stay in the hospital for 5 days, numerous tests, x-rays, scans, etc., I was given a blood transfusion and diagnosed with hemolytic anemia, pending some test results that would take a few weeks.
About 2 weeks later I was in Charlotte at my in-law’s house recovering. I was hovering around what felt like 50%, as the blood transfusion had gotten my hemoglobin levels back up to that of a small female child. It was a warm day in July and I ventured outside, cued up Willie Nelson’s Spirit album, (which I had just purchased on a whim) settled onto a float, and drifted around the pool.
At this point in my medical journey I was still waiting on some test results and didn’t really know what the future held, but I was cautiously optimistic. Willie’s voice, the sparse instrumentation and these songs resonated strongly with me. From the opening notes of “Matador” I could feel that this album was going to be special. By the time “Too Sick To Pray” came along I was almost in tears. Just listening to Spirit can transport me back to that place and the thoughts in my mind. The thoughts of an uncertain future, enormous medical bills, the friends I wanted to leave my instruments to if I died. But then I can also remember how my thoughts shifted as the album went along. “We Don’t Run” made me think of my wife and children, how lucky I had been to have found a wonderful woman, all of the love and support I had gotten from friends and family. Even now I can feel the sun, the breeze, and the cool of the water. And as I let Spirit cycle through 3 or 4 times on that day, I knew everything was going to be all right…at least in that moment.
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