Like many of you, I was shocked and saddened when I read of the passing of Merle Haggard. I had heard that he had been ill and in the hospital, but I had no idea that he was anywhere close to dying.
I only recently came to understand his genius. I picked up a boxed set, entitled Down Every Road, containing 100 of his best songs. He didn’t sing about pick-up trucks and girls in short shorts, but he had more country in his little pinkie than 75% of those styling themselves as country music artists have in their entire bodies.
I wonder why it took me so long to discover how good he was. I also wonder why we so often fail to appreciate what we have until we’ve lost it. We don’t fully realize the blessings of the people in our lives until it becomes too late to tell them.
Maybe what I’m telling you is to vocalize your appreciation for every good thing in your life (and every good person, too). Don’t email. Don’t Skype. Don’t text. Tell them face-to-face with actual words that come from an actual heart filled with love.
Maybe what I’m telling you is to hold everything loosely and to realize that nothing in this life lasts forever. Even you have an expiration date. So if you know you and everyone around you won’t live forever, perhaps it will remind you to cherish and relish the days you’re given as the gifts they are.
Maybe what I’m telling you is that life is too short to waste on music that you don’t like. Find what speaks to you and go listen to that. Even if it’s from a time before you were born.
I find myself listening to a lot of Merle today. It just seems appropriate to honor the man who made so much great and lasting music. I hope and pray that he truly does rest in the peace of Christ that passes all understanding.