Tag Archives: neighborhood

The Music

It’s interesting. I just posted that I won’t be able to post that often and here I am posting.

Something came up.

A lot of things actually.

A lot of pain in the world and death and destruction.

There is a lot to talk about and a lot of people are talking and writing and spouting off what they think and politicizing tragedy.  I’m not going to do that.

I’m interested in people’s hearts and souls and stories.

My best friend from childhood’s brother passed away yesterday. They lived across the street from us all the years I lived at home (18 years). He was a big presence. He was a state champion wrestler and a football player. Mostly I remember him as a musician. He was in a band in high school and I remember when we were young, he played everything by ear.  I can visualize him sitting down at the piano and just playing something he heard on the radio. I also remember walking into their house and hearing the drums being played in the basement.  It was loud.

We looked up to him.  He was 3 years older than us and so cool.  He didn’t care about being cool which made him that much cooler.  He was a really, really kind soul.

I had a lot of drama in high school.  Much of it created by me.  I remember him telling me one time, “Sue, you have to ignore what other people think and say.  Just be yourself.” That meant a lot to me of course because I needed to hear it. I cared (care?) too much what people think.  I want everyone to like me and it was way worse in high school.  I’m learning. But he was just himself. Always.

Yesterday when I heard he passed I cried. We hadn’t talked in years and like I say, he was my best friend’s brother so he was like a side story to my friendship with her really.  I mean, to him, I was just his little sister’s friend.  I’m sure much of the time, super annoying. What I realize now is that often it’s those people on the periphery that affect us.  God works in the margins, amen?

Also, when he was around, he became the main event.  Honestly, he had charisma and charm and talent and kindness and the coolness just oozed out of him.

I didn’t know a house filled with live music being played except for theirs until now – my husband plays the guitar and my kids have all played at one time or another.  Music is a big part of our household now.  Thinking back on this makes me realize how much we are all part of each other’s stories.  How much we can affect someone with a kind word, some music, a song. I have no doubt he affected many.

It was fitting last night that I was at the Austin City Limits Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony while they honored great songwriters and musicians.  I thought of him and his love of music. Music brings people together.  It’s a balm for weary souls.

I don’t know much about his life after high school except the updates I received from his sister.  From the outpouring yesterday, I know he had a family and friends who loved him deeply. I do know he still played and sang.  And that brings me comfort.

There are a million memories of neighborhood shenanigans but the memory that will stick with me forever happened just about a year (or two?) ago.  We were at his father’s funeral.  He went up and sang a song for his dad.  He played the guitar and sang, “Why Me Lord?”  Afterwards I went up to him to say how great it was and he was humble as ever, he said, “I hope it was what he wanted.  He asked me to sing that one for him.”

I want to share it with you. I cried like a baby.

To Dan. Thanks.

©2015 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™, All Rights Reserved

There but for the grace of God, go I


Friends, we need to talk.

I was slapped into reality this morning when my friend called to tell me what happened to her son.

He was hit by a car yesterday on his way to school.  He’s okay. Praise God.

The really weird and crazy thing is that her other son was hit by a car a year ago. Same situation.  By the grace of God, he’s okay too.

She called me wondering why this happened twice to the same family.  She wondered all day yesterday if she should tell people about it just as a reminder to be aware, go slow, drive carefully.  She questioned out loud if this was God, with a message. She drove her son to school today and was struck by all of the people driving while texting or looking at their email or talking on the phone in a school zone.

Here’s where this gets tricky.  I have done that.  No wait…I do that. UGH. I’m sitting here with my heart beating fast thinking…I could have hit her son.  That could have been me.

I think of the poor woman who was pulling out of her driveway and couldn’t see maybe because of the fence, maybe because we live so close to each other, maybe her baby was crying in the back, maybe she was in a hurry…there are so many maybes.  But here’s the sure thing…NONE OF US WANTS TO HURT A CHILD.

This is not a condemnation of moms or dads or big cars or cell phones.  This is a reminder for all of us to WAKE UP and LOOK UP and SLOW DOWN.

This is a reminder for me.

Remember when Oprah asked us to sign a petition not to text while driving?  I was so gung ho at the time…all in…stoked…responsible.  But as time has gone on, I have been careless…in a hurry…selfish…self important…forgetful…distracted.  My kids have yelled at me to put the phone down.  Let me repeat that because it’s so awful but it’s the truth and I need to bring it to light…my kids have yelled at me in the car while I was driving to put the cell phone down.

I’m mortified and embarrassed and so, so sorry.

The last thing I would ever want to do is hurt a child.  Not the kids outside the car and not the kids inside the car.  I think of the kids walking and riding bikes and skateboarding and laughing and playing and trusting the adults in their lives to make good choices and keep them safe.

Let’s not disappoint them.

©2013 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™ All Rights Reserved