Fans of country music might argue that their favorite music style is not just something to be listened to, it's something to be felt. It's about life; the good, the bad, the ugly, family, faith, hope, and love. It's about standing up for what you believe and overcoming the struggles.
In fact, there's a saying that goes something along the lines of, if there is a situation in life, there's probably a country song written about it.
Despite being only a dabbler in the genre, it seems, every time I listen to a country music song carefully, I can relate to the words and, sometimes, even may profoundly feel them, as one song did recently on my way to work.
There I was; happily driving with my McDonald’s breakfast burrito on my right hand and trying to apply the sauce on it with my left, while keeping a couple of fingers on the steering wheel (and people think texting is bad!).
All of a sudden, I heard these words from the radio, “She dropped the phone and burst into tears. The doctor just confirmed her fears. Her husband held it in and held her tight.”
I put my burrito aside and started listening more intently. “Cancer don’t discriminate or care if you’re just 38 with three kids who need you in their lives. He said, "I know that you’re afraid and I am too, but you’ll never be alone, I promise you."
I started thinking about my wife and kids and felt a tear running down my cheek.
Then, the refrain, sung from the perspective of the husband, really put a dagger in me, “When you’re weak, I’ll be strong. When you let go, I’ll hold on. When you need to cry, I swear that I’ll be there to dry your eyes. When you feel lost and scared to death, Like you can’t take one more step Just take my hand, together we can do it I’m gonna love you through it.”
By that point, tears were uncontrollably gushing down both cheeks, as I was desperately trying to avoid making eye contact with other drivers.
I seems like a recurring theme for me around this time of year.
Last year it was Christmas Shoes by New Song. This year, it was I'm Gonna Love You Through It, by Martina McBride (see below).
It also reminded me of several friends who have gone and are still going through the scenario played out in the song.
One of our friends was able to catch breast cancer early and, thankfully, she is in remission. She and her husband have young children and have gone through the emotional and spiritual roller coaster that cancer brings with it over the last couple of years.
They say faith is what helped carry them through.
Another friend and her husband are still going through this but, in this case, the wife was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor, which was further complicated when she also suffered a stroke.
The last year, has been an uphill climb for them; the highs and lows, the good days and bad, the in and out of hospitals and treatments, the emotional and financial toll, and the many more issues and problems that I don't even know about.
Still, like the first couple, faith and their love for one another seems to be what is helping them overcome.
In St. Paul's first letter to the Corinthians, he writes, "God is faithfull, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it." (1 Cor 10:13).
These are just two stories. Two women like the hundreds of thousands that each year get diagnosed with some form of cancer or another. And, two men, who like in the Martina McBride song, have helped their wives through the pain, sorrow, hardship, despair, doubt and loneliness with their love; like hundreds of thousands of wives help their husbands get through similar ordeals each year as well.
As I pulled into the parking lot at work, and the song came to an end, I reflected on how blessed my wife and I have been.
I don't know if I would have the courage and strength to love my wife through a situation like the one in the song (without her having to console me instead!), but I'd like to think, with God's help, I would, as I know, she would love me through it too.
Taking a deep breath, I gathered myself, wiped the tears from my face and finally took a bite from my burrito...