In August of 1978, my older sister and I loaded up her ’67 sky blue Mustang and headed for T-town. I was 17-years-old and leaving home for the first time ‘Bama bound. The Mustang was crammed full of our belongings, packed from top to bottom with not a thumbnail of space to spare. We slid my LPs, including my favorite – “John Denver’s Greatest Hits” in the back of the car.
August in the Deep South is so hotly humid the water seems to hang in the air. By the time we made it to Tuscaloosa to unload, my John Denver LP had warped in the heat. I was heartbroken because LPs were hard to come by being much more expensive than iTunes!
I have never been an audiophile, but at 17, I loved the folksy music of John Denver. “Country Roads.” “Rocky Mountain High.” “Grandma’s Feather Bed.” “Annie’s Song.” I knew them all by heart and would happily sing along while sprawled across my bed in a room that I shared with my little sister which was decorated with lime green walls and pink gingham bedspreads. Amid all that horrendous color (all the rage at the time), I would daydream about the Colorado which Denver painted in soothing words and music. So, you’ll understand why I took that warped LP and put a tack through the center hole and hung it on the bulletin board in my first dorm room. And there it lived throughout my freshman year until, not needing it any more, I threw it away when next I moved.
Thirty-four years later I’m sitting in the middle of the Rocky Mountains in Estes Park, CO. The sky is the same color as my sister’s ’67 Mustang. John Denver left this world many years ago in a plane crash, but I can hear him singing “Rocky Mountain High” in his wonderfully pure voice and I can see the old LP, good as new, spinning round in seemingly endless circles on the little turntable in the pink and green bedroom of my youth.
It occurs to me that one of the most wonderful — and terrifying — things about life is that we never know where it’s going to take us. Yet, when we get there, we often see how it’s connected in an unforeseen way with a moment, or a day, or an entire season in our past. The common thread, woven by our Creator, is always there whether we realize it or not. It’s a tie that binds us all — all things…all moments…all whispers of consciousness into this miraculous universe in which He breathed life. There is great joy when we recognize that transparent thread.