Tag Archives: Dwight Yoakam

Bridging the Distance

A couple of weeks ago my husband and I went to see Dwight Yoakam in concert. It was a great concert — but then Dwight always puts on a great concert. True to my nature, I’ve listened to a lot of Dwight both before and after the concert. He sang one of my favorite songs called “If There Was a Way” and I realized that I did not have that album on my iPod. I quickly remedied that a day or so after the concert and have been listening a lot to that album.

There is another song on that album that has me thinking. It’s called “The Distance Between You and Me.” It’s a sad song about a couple that has grown apart. The chorus says:

I lie awake and hear you breathing
Only inches from me in this bed
Not much space but it’s all that we needed
To live alone now that our love is dead

This song is particularly sad because it describes so many couples in our society today. They start out their marriages happy and blissful, but somewhere along the way a distance grows between them, sometimes so big it’s immeasurable. The distance leaves them alone even as they occupy the same house, the same bed. Many wonder what leads to such aloneness.

But it’s really no mystery. Quoting Psalm 4:4, the apostle Paul advised, “‘In your anger do not sin’ Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.” Ephesians 4:26-27 (NIV). Sadly, so many people do not heed this advice. Pride, anger, and lack of forgiveness cause the distance. One spouse says or does something that hurts the other, maybe intentionally but maybe not. And the other spouse refuses to forgive, holds a grudge. Then another incident leads to another grudge, and on and on it goes. Each grudge separates them and eventually enough anger and unforgiveness destroys the love and intimacy they once enjoyed.

Another problem that causes a distance between husband and wife is when one or the other uses sex as a weapon, when because of anger one refuses the other’s advances. Paul also warned against this situation when he gave his “Instruction on Marriage” in 1 Corinthians:

The husband should fulfill his wife’s sexual needs, and the wife should fulfill her husband’s needs. The wife gives authority over her body to her husband, and the husband gives authority over his body to his wife. Do not deprive each other of sexual relations, unless you both agree to refrain from sexual intimacy for a limited time so you can give yourselves more completely to prayer. Afterward, you should come together again so that Satan won’t be able to tempt you because of your lack of self-control. 1 Corinthians 7:3-5 (NLT).

Thankfully, there is a way to bridge the distance and loneliness, and heal the hearts of estranged love. Honesty, love, and forgiveness will heal all wounds. Live together with “compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.  And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” Colossians 3:12-14 (NIV).

The best option is to live by God’s design for a healthy marriage as revealed in His Word and thereby prevent Satan from getting a foothold in your lives and creating that distance that destroys love and intimacy. But where Satan has already gained a foothold and a distance has grown, that distance can be bridged by love and forgiveness. Love that appears dead can be given new life by God’s grace.

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Living with Regrets – A Poem

Next week I am going to see Dwight Yoakam in concert. I love Dwight for the way that he writes and sings of lost love in such a way that it makes me truly appreciate the love of my life. I’ve been thinking this week about a post on this topic, then today the Form for All lesson over at dVerse Poets Pub was a challenge to write Twitter poetry, in which each stanza is exactly 140 characters. It seemed like a good medium for my thoughts on Dwight’s music.

Living with Regrets

At the end of this long life
no one will regret that
their life wasn’t more like
a Dwight Yoakam song,
sad and lonelier, -
heartache filled.

1000 miles of misery
stem from pride,
love lost and heartache found
leaving that sweet face behind
watching clouds, engines roar

Knowing love will never return
feeling emptiness and loss
stems from neglect of love
not reaching out or being there-
Needing words of hope.

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The Misery of Pride

I’ve been listening to a lot of Dwight Yoakam lately because I went to see him here in Portland last week with my cousin. The concert was awesome, but I wish he would have sung a few more of his slower songs. Although it is not Christian music, I love his style, his voice, and how he can so perfectly capture the mood of the song he is singing.

I want to share one of my favorite Dwight Yoakam songs called 1,000 Miles from his 1987 album Hillbilly Deluxe. This is a very sad song, but I just love how it shows off his wonderful voice. I love the tremor in his voice when he sings “A thousand miles of misery-y-y-y-y-y-y-y.”

There is also a lesson in this song. The first verse says:

Runway Four, Flight 209
Teardrop falls, we start to climb
This window seat proved a poor choice
It shows the dream that’s been destroyed
A little baby starts to cry
Hey, I would too, if not for pride
I owe so much to pride, it’s true
It brought an end to me and you

As sad as this song is, as heartbreaking as the situation of the singer is, it doesn’t have to be that way. He is in misery because of pride. Because of pride, he has lost the one he loved, which is not surprising. As scripture says:

Pride goes before destruction,  a haughty spirit before a fall.
Proverbs 16:18 (NIV).

Pride brings a person low,  but the lowly in spirit gain honor.
Proverbs 29:23 (NIV).

The end of a matter is better than its beginning,  and patience is better than pride.
Ecclesiastes 7:8 (NIV).

How many relationships between husbands and wives, between parents and children, between brothers and sisters, or between friends are broken or lost because of pride? It prevents us from being forgiving, kind, and loving in our relationships, and keeps us from admitting our own faults and seeking forgiveness. It leads to a thousand miles or a thousand days of misery and loneliness.

What relationships are you jeopardizing today because of pride? It’s a question we all need to ask from time to time. May God help us all set aside our pride and leave misery behind.

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Thou Shall Not Covet

The Ten Commandments are the basic law that was given to the Israelites by God. The last of the commandments is stated in Exodus 20:17 as follows: “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

This commandment is in addition to the commandment to not steal, which means that to covet what belongs to your neighbor is something different from stealing it. But what exactly does it mean to covet what belongs to another and why is it a bad thing?

It certainly doesn’t harm God directly if we covet what belongs to another, and it doesn’t harm the person whose things we covet. So what’s the big deal? Why did God give us this commandment?

God instructed us not to covet what belongs to others because He loves us and wants what is best for us. He wants us to trust Him for what we need and what will make us happy and content. He wants to bless us uniquely, and not necessarily in the same way He has blessed another.

When we covet what belongs to another then we lose the blessing of contentment. A lack of contentment brings sorrow and strife into our life. When we covet what belongs to another we dwell on what we don’t have and forget to be thankful for what we do have.

Here are some examples from my own life:

  • If I covet the large families that my sisters-in-law all have (5, 4, and 3 kids, respectively), and dwell on a desire to have many children instead of the one son I do have, then I will feel sorrowful. I will forget to be thankful for the wonderful, generous, creative son that God has blessed me with. I will miss out on the blessing of being able to spend so much time with him because my time is not divided among multiple children.
  • If I covet the 5 bedroom house that my neighbor owns, and dwell on my desire to have my own library, a larger laundry room, and guest rooms for visitors, then I will feel that life is unfair. I will forget to be thankful for the beautiful house I do own in a great neighborhood. I will miss out on the blessing of my small family being so close because there is no room in our house to avoid each other. I will also miss out on the blessing of not having as many rooms to keep clean.
  • If I covet the Thunderbird I was following on my way to work the other day, and dwell on my desire to have a nicer car (preferably red), then I will feel sad. I will forget to be thankful for the (mostly) reliable car that I do drive and that I don’t have to ride the bus to work. I will miss out on the blessing of not having a car payment to make every month and not having higher insurance rates for a newer car.

There are many other things that my friends and neighbors have that I don’t have that I could covet. But God has commanded that I not covet these things because He wants me to be happy and content with the blessings I do enjoy. Although we may think the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, God knows that there is no guarantee that having the things we covet would make us more content and happy.

As I thought about writing this post, a song by Dwight Yoakam came to mind. It’s called I Got You. It’s a song about a guy who has lost everything it seems, but he still has his girl and so he is content. He says:

Hey I know my life seems a mess but honey things to me still look real swell
Cause I’ve got you to see me through yeah I’ve got you to chase my blues
I’ve got you to ease my pain yeah I’ve got you girl to keep me sane
So let them do what they want to do cause it don’t matter long as I’ve got you

Sometimes in this life people do lose everything it seems. Sometimes they even lose the one person they think will get them through. But one thing is sure, and that is that we can never lose the love of Jesus.

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:37-39 (NIV).

So let us not covet that which we do not have, but instead be thankful for the blessings we have been given and rejoice in the love of God that can never be taken from us.

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Hold on to God

If you have read very much of my blog you will know that I love music! I even have a “Music and Bands I Like” page, though I haven’t added to it in a long time. Most of the time I listen to Christian rock because I love the rock genre – which is what I listened to most as a teenager – and I find encouragement and strength in the Christian themes of this music.

But I also listen to some non-Christian artists and to other genre’s of music. I even like some country music, though not a lot of the current top 40 stuff. One of my favorite country music artists is Dwight Yoakam. His style is not top 40 or Nashville style, but is what is called the Bakersfield sound. It has kind of a twang to it and was first made popular by Buck Owens (who I also like).

Most of Dwight’s music consists of what I call sad heartache songs. (I even have a playlist on my iPod called Sad Heartache Songs, and it is mostly Dwight). There is something about his voice and the lyrics of his music that really captures the varied emotions and heartache of lost love. He is also a lot of fun to watch in concert.

But Dwight has one song that I want to share today that is not of the sad heartache variety. It is a song that he apparently wrote for his mother, and it is called Hold on to God. It’s a wonderful song that reminds me to hold on to God’s everlasting Word and that Jesus is my lifeline in life’s storm-tossed sea of trials and tribulation.

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Nothing New Under the Sun

What’s your story? I know you have one; we all do. But a more important question is: Have you shared your story with anyone? So often we don’t. Even when someone asks, “How are you?” or “What’s going on with you?”, we answer with platitudes like, “I’m fine” or “Not much.” We do this even when it is not true, even when we are not fine or a multitude of stressful situations are plaguing us.

A Facebook friend posted as her status one day that everyone lies, and the biggest lie we tell is “I’m fine.” But why do we do that? Why don’t we share our story with others? I believe there are two reasons, both rooted in fear to some extent.

First, we think our story is ordinary. We are afraid that others will be bored by what we have to say about what’s going on in our lives. Sometimes this might be true, sometimes the person we are speaking with won’t really care enough to truly listen or will be bored. Dwight Yoakam sings a song called “Sorry You Asked” that exemplifies this concern:

You’ll be sorry you asked
me the reason
That she’s not here with
me tonight
And I know you were
probably just acting polite
But you’ll be sorry you
ever asked why

We think people are just acting polite when they ask how we are, and don’t really want to know the truth. But often that is not the case, at least not if you are hanging out with people who care about you.

Second, we think we are the only ones going through whatever difficulty we are experiencing. We are afraid that others will look down on us for the situation we are in or the trial we are experiencing. We are afraid they will think we are weird or worse. But seldom are we the only ones who have experienced the trial we are currently experiencing or have gone through in the past. “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 1:9.

The truth is our shared stories are what bring us together in community. I believe God allows us to experience trials that He knows we can handle so that we can then be an encouragement to others in a similar situation. If you have had a miscarriage, chances are at least one of the other women in your circle of friends has had one, too, and could use some support and encouragement. If you have suffered from depression and recovered, odds are you will encounter someone else who is struggling with this problem who could benefit from your understanding. If you have lost a loved one, I would venture that many of the people you know have lost someone, too, and could find hope in the fact that you have survived this ordeal.

I could go on and on with examples, but the specific examples are not the point. It is the fact that we are all the same in so many ways. We are not alone and need not feel alone. In Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, Solomon wrote:

 9 Two are better than one,
       because they have a good return for their work:

 10 If one falls down,
       his friend can help him up.
       But pity the man who falls
       and has no one to help him up!

 11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
       But how can one keep warm alone?

 12 Though one may be overpowered,
       two can defend themselves.
       A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

So go ahead, just like the character in Dwight’s song, share your story. Tell your friends how you really are, the genuine struggles you are facing, and the frustrations you are dealing with. Who knows, you just might help them feel less afraid and alone about their own trials, or you might encounter someone who is willing to share with you their story of hope and healing that you desperately need to hear.

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