Cliff and I moved to the property where we now live in May of 1975, so we've been here awhile. There was one period of two and one-half years, though, when we moved south of Oak Grove to a double-wide, and rented out the old house on our property. It was one of many sidetracks we've traveled in my lifetime. One thing we got out of the experience was the knowledge that we liked Wellington much better than we had realized; it wasn't long after we moved back that I wrote a song about the town and its people; one line in the song lyric says, "I left once, but I won't again."
However, our interlude during the time we were back at Oak Grove wasn't a bad experience. For one thing, this non-driver hit the jackpot as far as her church life went, because it was only a short walk from our house to the Oak Grove Bible Church... probably the equivalent of a city block. I could go to church any time I wanted, without begging for a ride from somebody! I'd not known anything about the Bible church as a denomination, but I soon figured out it was similar to the Baptist church; I'm not a Baptist, but I'm comfortable in a Baptist church. This, by the way, has little to do with the song that came to me on a gloomy Sunday afternoon in November. I'm just setting the scene here. My children were 12 and 14, I suppose, and Cliff worked at the Country Butcher Shop.
Our son often kept a radio playing when he went to bed; this was before he graduated to Ozzie Osborn and AD/DC, and still listened to country. One night I was waiting for sleep and heard what at the time seemed like the loveliest melody I'd ever heard coming from his radio. Later it would be a hit for Janie Fricke, but this must have been the first time I'd paid attention to it. It was a typical country song, a woman feeling sorry for herself because her man was leaving her. For some reason, the first line in the song kept going over and over in my head, where Janie sings, "Your bags are packed and waiting by the door." I used the exact tune of that line to start a God-song I wrote on a gloomy Sunday. I didn't steal the tune of her whole song, only those first notes of the verses.
November is usually a depressing month for me: Not as much now, but back then, winter was hard to get through financially. Christmas is approaching, propane tanks have to be filled, taxes are due. For some reason, in my Bible reading on that day, I had come across Hebrews 13:8: Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and forever. It settled in my head for some reason around the same time as that country song was haunting me. I began to get the idea for a song: So on that Sunday afternoon, I went into our bedroom, shut the door, and, still thinking about that Bible verse, began writing down words. As I strummed the guitar, the beginning notes of Janie Fricke's song just jumped onto the first words of my new song and seemed perfect.
The other day when Gabe and I were walking, I thought about the song and decided to sing it right there in the woods. This isn't an uncommon occurrence, by the way, although I don't normally record myself. But I was thinking about what the world is going through and realized this song I wrote years ago could help me weather the storm. I'm hesitant about sharing it with the world for several reasons, but I believe the words to the song have a message for believers at this difficult time.
So here it is, with my voice full of imperfections. Maybe the song isn't even that good, but it gives me goosebumps when I sing it. I've always thought the right voice could really do it justice. I don't believe I'll need to put the lyrics here, because without the guitar, the words seem very clear. Don't judge the song by my voice, but by the words.