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Archive for August, 2011

Silver Wings

           Light brown pigtails whipped in the wind as she sat in the backseat of the old ’66 Chevy Impala.  Dust from the gravel country road flew up in a cloud behind them, and the car outran it.  She had the window down, her arm propped up on the ledge, and a big smile on her face.  The backseat was all hers, and, from big rear speakers, the unmistakable voice of Merle Haggard, singing Silver Wings, drowned out all other sounds.

            She had never felt better.  She was still a kid, yet a little grown up.  In the company of her aunt and uncle, yet feeling she was out on her own.  She was a good girl, but, away from her parents, she was allowed to smoke and sneak a peek at a True Story magazine.  It was summertime and she was eleven.           

            It’s been a few decades since that day, but all I have to do is hear the sound of Merle’s voice, anytime, anywhere and the memories come flashing back.  Tears will always well up in my eyes, as I remember a time before life was tainted.  A time when I was innocent and full of wonder…where the world looked like a wonderful place from my eleven-year-old eyes. 

            The 8-track tape switched to Mama Tried and Merle told the story of a life so sad she couldn’t comprehend it; although she sensed what seemed like some sort of soul connection.  She empathized with his plight and she hurt for him.  But in that moment, while he sang of a “rebel child on a freight train leaving town”, she was still sitting safely in the backseat.  

            It was only a few years later when other people’s decisions would change her life.  She would go on to make poor choices of her own wishing, then, that silver wings would take her away. 

            Despite all I have done, I can’t comprehend the pain Merle Haggard pours into his music.  When I hear him sing, my heart still hurts for him.  

            Turning “21 in prison doing life without parolewas obviously not the end of his story.  He was paroled and went on to live a life, “…most men only dream of.”  He even received a presidential pardon.  But, apparently, none of it has ever been quite enough. 

            “There’s a feeling in my gut that says you haven’t written that one song yet, the one that’s going to live forever.  I’ll be satisfied only when I feel like I’ve written that song.” 

            Some might think a signature song like Okie from Muskogee would have been enough to fill the hole in his soul.  I used to think a successful career, the right award or the perfect person could do it for me.  But only God can do that for any of us.  He created us for relationship, and nothing will satisfy us, until we surrender to him.   

            Besides, Merle already sings a song with a message that transcends time.  He tells of a man named Leonard, who was… 

 “On his way to having what he wanted, just about as close as one could be, hey once he even followed Elvis Presley and he wrote a lot of country songs for me. But he laid it all aside to follow Jesus, for years he chose to let his music go, but preachin wasn’t really meant for Leonard, but how in the hell was Leonard supposed to know?  Well life began to twist its way around him, and I wondered how he carried such a load.  He came back again to try his luck in music and lost his wife and family on the road.  After that he seemed to bog down even deeper and I saw what booze and pills can really do.  And I wondered if I’d ever see him sober.  But I’d forgot about a friend that Leonard knew.” 

          It is never too late, we are never too lost.  God is always there waiting. 

“The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” 

            All that we have done, no matter the magnitude, no matter how many times or how great the sin, all can be forgiven.  And, even after a life lived in rebellion, we can still come to him as innocent as that eleven-year-old child. 

He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     “Silver wings shining in the sunlight…silver wings, slowly fading out of sight.”




Quote taken from PBS American Masters Documentary: Merle Haggard “Learning to Live with Myself.”

Bible verses:  2 Peter 3:9 and Mark 10:14


© Copyright 2011, KeziahCarrie. All Rights Reserved

Who Do You Want To Be?

          The question is raised almost as much as a single person is asked, “When are you going to get married?” or a married couple is asked, “Do you want to have children?”  My 13-year-old son is often asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”  I love waiting for his answer and anticipating what he might say. 

          Right now he wants to be a lawyer.  But that follows a few years of wanting to be a preacher like his Papaw, a rock-n-roll star, an NBA basketball player  or a FBI agent.  I personally think if he doesn’t settle on just one, there could be an interesting combination at work.

          Lately, I’ve been spending time with people who are on their second, third and fourth careers.  It seems sort of exciting that you can re-make yourself that many times.  So I started thinking…

          Who do I want to be if I ever grow up? 🙂

          What I finally came up with is a bucket list of character traits… rather than just a list of vacation trips I still want to take:

  • I want to be the person who listens, instead of the one who always talks
  • To be like the woman who doesn’t just think something good about someone, but actually takes the time to stop and tell them
  • Someone who smiles instead of frowns, because it’s just as easy to do one as the other
  • I want to fully recover from, and never return to, my “control-a-holic.” ways…because, given a chance or any encouragement at all, I will take the bull by the horns and run with it.  When God is in control, things run so much smoother.
  • I want to always remember that some of the wisest people I know don’t have college degrees, resumes or impressive bios
  • Give people the benefit of the doubt, because we all have issues, we all have baggage, we all have histories and not everyone has dug up the roots of their past
  • Be someone you can call on, count on and know I will be there if I can
  • A wife who lifts her husband up instead of finding ways to cut him down
  • A mother who adores her children and grandchildren
  • A daughter willing to tenderly take as much time for my parents as they did for me.
  • I want to pray for the needs of others more than I pray for myself
  • I want to live, love and laugh with all I’ve got!
  • I always want to remember that God has never let me down.  And, as long as I’m here, He still has a plan.

                            So if you don’t mind me asking…who do you still want to be?


“What we are is God’s gift to us.  What we become is our gift to God.”

Eleanor Powell


© Copyright 2011, KeziahCarrie.  All Rights Reserved


A Restless Evil

            The sounds of chicken frying and potatoes boiling, mixed in with the smell of biscuits baking, made for a most pleasant and secure feeling that night.  My mom was busy in the kitchen while I sat cross-legged on the counter watching her every move.

             Then the shrill sound of the old rotary wall phone changed it all in an instant.  I could tell by the worried look on my mother’s face and the irritated tone in her voice that this was not good.  She looked at me as she hung up the phone and said “Your Dad and I have been called to a Parent/Teacher Conference.” 

             My security slid right out the door and my appetite tanked.  My older sisters found great joy in the moment, dancing around the kitchen, singing in unison, “You’re in trouble, you’re in trouble.”  They were right.  I was in trouble with my parents, but not necessarily in trouble at school.

             I was in the 4th grade and my increasingly concerned teacher told my parents at their meeting that I didn’t get into trouble; I just laughed at those who did.  My husband jokes that it was a pre-requisite for my career as a news reporter.  But what was really happening was I had found my first excuse to talk about people.  They were in trouble.  They had done something wrong.  I not only thought it was funny that they were being judged for their actions, but I was anxious to tell other people what had happened.

     In some ways, it was a sport I had learned while watching grownups gossip at all sorts of gatherings.  In fact, I discovered it was not only okay to talk about people; it seemed to be an acceptable sin even at church.  I remember my mom getting to a point where she no longer wanted to get us all dressed up on Easter Sunday.  It made her feel uncomfortable how some people talked more about what others were wearing, and how much they were spending, than the word they were supposed to be hearing.

             I don’t know why it’s so hard to tame the tongue.  We are warned many times in the Bible about its destructive powers.  Although I know men who can slice and dice with a quick slash of their tongue, it’s usually women who get the worst rap when it comes to spreading gossip.

             The older I get the more I recognize the temptations of that old trap.  I’m far better than I was in the 4th grade, but still find that I have not yet mastered my mouth.

              It’s not as bad as it once was, back when my tongue might have gotten me all tangled in a web of my own making.  But I do get that little twinge of a spiritual reminder when I talk too much.  It’s that gut feeling that I should stop.  If I don’t, it either makes me feel really sick inside or I walk away feeling stressed and strangely justified, but sad and sorry all the same.

            I did it again today.  The conversation started innocently enough then one thing led to another and I quenched the voice of the Holy Spirit so I could have my say.  It felt just like I knew it would. 

“All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue.  It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.”  

James 3:7-8  

            It’s true!  Sometimes we can’t stop it; and we certainly can’t tame it.  But it’s not really up to us.  God knows our weaknesses and he’s got us covered.

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”  Matthew 19:26

          Tomorrow is a new day and our God of second chances will let us try again to walk away or remain silent.  A friend at work frequently uses the phrase, “Stay in your lane.” It’s good advice.  If we concentrate on what we’re supposed to be doing, the temptation to talk about others won’t be so tantalizing.  If you think about it, it’s ironic in a way, when we are talking about someone else we are the ones who are wrong.

Until we meet again, I pray we all keep our hands on the wheel and our judgemental and critical tongues tucked safety behind our teeth.  

          I don’t remember if I got a reprieve, was grounded or maybe even spanked after my parents found out what I was doing.  But I suspect my sisters have a few memories they might be willing to share.   

© Copyright 2011, KeziahCarrie.  All Rights Reserved

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