In my last article, I mentioned that I was headed to Riverbend for some much needed musical healing. It did not disappoint. We saw everything from Rock to Americana to the living legend Tanya Tucker. I was grounded.
Quite unexpectedly, while listening to Jason Isbell, the idea for this article came to me. I suppose the weekend had culminated in my mind being ripe for listening to what the music had to tell me. What I heard were so many lyrics that reminded me of the work we have ahead as women. Yes, it came from a strange source. But, in case you didn’t know it, Jason Isbell is the dad of a daughter. I heard these lyrics through that lens and I was reminded of how important our work is.
We are the leaders tasked with writing the lyrics to a new song for a new generation. As we wrestle with the way uncertainty, overwhelm, mental fatigue, and hope are conflated with duty and divided interests, we must remain dedicated to becoming leaders who model the behavior we want to see in the world.
See if any of these ideas are making sense in your life right now. They are in mine.
“You were born on a hot late summer day. We turned you loose and tried to stay out of your way. Don’t quite recognize the world that you call home. Just find what makes you happy, girl, and do it till you’re gone.”
“Under our roof is a baby girl. I thought this world could be hers one day, but her mama knew better.”
“I’ve grown tired of traveling alone, won’t you ride with me?”
“Jesus loves a sinner, but the highway loves a sin. Daddy told me, and I believe he told me true, that the right thing’s always the hardest to do.”
“She didn’t need their pity on a single girl. She didn’t need their help to raise the brew. She wouldn’t be returning to her daddy’s world. She didn’t want a better attitude. She just wanted to ride in a Hudson Commodore.”
“If we were Vampires and death were a joke, we’d go out on the sidewalk and smoke. And laugh at all the lovers and their plans. I wouldn’t feel the need to hold your hand”
When read separately these lyrics make little sense. But when you understand the songwriter is seeing this world through his daughter’s and his wife’s eyes, these ideas hit you in the gut. They are at times brutally honest and not ideas we want to explore as a society. I’ve been listening to Jason Isbell for a long time, since right after he came out of rehab and got married. It was only recently that I began to view these lyrics as part of a pattern…part of a movement. It’s the same movement we are all part of as leaders with CWLI. We only have right now to make a difference. Our connection to one another is an essential part of how we write a new narrative for women following us. How we show up to support, sponsor, and love one another will determine how far our daughter’s wings can spread.
I am sending one to college in a few weeks and I, for one, want her wings to spread as far as they possibly can. How will you enrich the life of another woman this week? What difference will you make in her life? What will she be capable of tomorrow because you encouraged her?
Let’s Move FORward Together,