A member of The Official Soul Patrol contacted me a couple of weeks ago and requested that I give her words of inspiration. While I was honored that this person thought I could provide such inspiration, I wondered how I would be able to actually do that. This person was feeling a bit lost, caught in the crossroads of life. So was I so maybe I would be able to say something that might inspire us both. The following are excerpts of the correspondence that went back and forth over the next several days.
From the TOSP member:
Anyway, there it is. My mom's not feeling well. My husband would rather I would never have got involved with the Soul Patrol, my friends tell me to be careful, I can't really get too involved financially or even time wise...so why am I here?
The answer is simple my spirit has been lightened by TOSP and Taylor Hicks' music but I am finding it more and more difficult to do anything but visit, make a few comments, and vote...and then I feel guilty about letting everyone down by not doing more. I do try to vote every day so that Taylor's name will always be out there as it will without my help. He and his music are sensational as is the band he has put together!
So here I am at a crossroads. Do I walk away completely from something that is solely for me and brings me joy even though I can't give of myself and my time as I would like to?...or do I press on as I always have and know that God will watch over me? Perhaps my friend's death has something to do with this...perhaps I am overburdened right now... I don't know what it is...all I know is TOSP has become such a wonderfully happy part of my life, I hate the thought of giving it up...but sometimes it seems the best solution for now...at least for awhile but then once again...there goes my dream. Perhaps I am just not meant to be a writer...
My initial response:
So how do I inspire you? Your letter reminded me of something I get in emails from time to time: people come into our lives for just a season or more, some come in and others go out, and it's later on that we come to understand the purpose. While that's not the direct quote, it is the essence of its meaning.
TOSP, for many of us, is like that. It's a place to get lost in for a little bit, to dream, to share, and to laugh. It may be about the music, it may be about the man, but what really matters is that we come for our own reason, selfish or otherwise, to lose ourselves for a bit and "let out hair down".
I've seen so many people come and go over the past year, leaving for whatever reason or losing privileges on the board for not adhering to the policies of the board. Some had really good things to say; other seemed to start trouble. And the trolls were always around, but not quite as obvious as they are now.
I get suspicious when someone posts something that seems out of character for Taylor Hicks and then continue to talk about it as if they have first hand knowledge. Something similar to the Splash stuff! That is kind of sickening in my opinion, and I have to confess, I have read a lot of the posts there when the Hawaii pictures first surfaced. After all, Taylor is single, likes women, and is capable of making those kinds of assessments himself. Can you imagine having 1,000 mothers? That's what Taylor has if he hasn't already realized that! Pity the poor woman he marries – 1,000 mother-in-laws that you at least don't have to have over for dinner any time soon!
Hopefully by now you are laughing and saying to yourself, yes, she's definitely loosing it if she hasn't already lost it, but she is making some good points.
Stick around the boards. We need level headed fans that can help keep the really crazy ones at least on a shorter leash. As for the trolls, they will continue to come. So keep face! Keep posting when you have time. Visit when it's convenient. Spend time with your family. And continue to seek God's guidance. I can tell you this, He does listen, and if we are quiet enough, we too, will hear His response. It might not be what we want or expected, but it will be what's best for us.
I've learned over the past year that prayers really are answered. I had prayed over and over for the same opportunity, but what I was expecting never came. Then one day I realized the opportunity really had happened and I was doing exactly what I had prayed for, just in a different form! Taylor's Angels was the answer to my prayers, what I originally wanted is no longer all that important. Had my prayer been answered in the manner I wanted, I wouldn't be an Angel today, nor would I have become the person I have. God does answer prayers, so long as we are willing to wait, step back and let God take the lead and guide us. I know, it's much easier said than done. And I still try to take control sometimes! I'm human after all!
Thank you for enjoying and supporting Taylor's Angels. Support comes in so many ways - kind words, a nice write up, donation of tickets, or just a simple "Thank you". We can't do what we do without the Soul Patrol and now promoters are starting to help. It's great to see what we have been able to do. And that's what really counts in the end. If we are going to use Taylor Hicks name, we have to make sure we do so in a positive light!
So keep up what you are doing! And by the way, losing a close friend is never easy. I lost a good friend, my ex-husband and both of my parents in about 13 months. My parents actually passed away 9 weeks to the day apart. That was not an easy time. But I've learned to put even that in perspective.
Response from TOSP Member:
I agree with everything you say. You are a "dear heart". Of that I have no doubt. I shall continue to pray for guidance but I like you really do believe God always knows best and truthfully does answer our prayers in what is best for us.
I do believe that if we give our trust to God He will guide us in the right direction for us. I tend not to ask God for too much but rather to thank Him for all that He has already given. When you put you life and faith truly in the Lord life kind of unfolds as it should. My friend always says," If you follow the ways of the Lord, life is really quite simple...it is we humans who make it so difficult." Simple but true.
That doesn't mean we can't or shouldn't do our part as well, after all He did put us here for a reason. Perhaps, it's searching for that reason that is sometimes the most perplexing. We are human and that is the good part...we are allowed to make mistakes as long as we learn from them.
I guess life is a lot like prayer made up with all kinds of emotions...we seek inspiration, we pray for guidance, we ask for God's help, we say thank you for being alive...and I am a firm believer in "We often ask things of God and he does answer...the answer is NO. Smile."
I also believe the best things in life are free - love, kindness, a smile, nature, family and friends...no particular order just working all together in harmony. Truly we all have such joy in our lives already. (If only the rest of the world would appreciate that. Smile.)
As you can tell, I am a person who thinks with her heart and then her head. I guess that's why I like to think things out so much...a gentle soul am I.
The Last Word:
As I reflect back over the days of our exchange, I still tear up reading and re-reading the messages. Had I inspired a soul in need of inspiration? Or had I been inspired just by responding? I don’t have the answer. But at this point, I’m inspired. Inspired to continue working with Taylor’s Angels, inspired to support Taylor Hicks and his music, inspired to donate a few more tickets to those who can’t afford them, inspired to continue writing, inspired to continue just doing what I do, whatever that is, however I get it done.
What I do have to give to you is this, words I live by, mottos perhaps, but none the less the way I get by each day:
* Treat others as you want to be treated with love, respect and kindness.
* Get your act together; this too, shall pass.
* Life has a way of putting all things in perspective.
* When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.
* When you are at the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on.
* If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun.
* Live life. Love More. Laugh Often.
* When in doubt, pray. When you have the answers, pray. When you are happy, pray. When you are sad, pray. When you have a need, pray. When you are thankful, pray. Pray for any reason, anytime, any where.