The Dance

Much Beckstead history is related to this song. When I hear it, I am carried back to days gone by. We lost three important pieces of the family puzzle within about four years. My husband’s nephew, brother and father all left us prematurely. We named our son after all of them, in a way. (Riley is Ryan and Billy combined, and his middle is a family name.) This family is not strangers to loss and hard times. At each funeral the song, “The Dance,” by Garth Brooks was played.

The haunting, yet beautiful, beginning and ending measures of solitary piano notes mean love and loss to me. It is difficult to hold the water works due to the history it encompasses for me. I adore the message of this song.

The other day I heard it on the radio and back washed the memories of those beloved, but I also possess a new perspective of this song post-stroke.

I am truly happy it wasn’t sung for me in August 2016. (I can’t lie!) I have experienced loss though. Loss for my former life. Loss for what could’ve been. Loss for over a year of the everyday times I missed with my family.

What would I have done if I was aware this event was coming? How would I have prepared? What would’ve I appreciated more? Would I have cleaned the house more or spent an increased amount of time expressing my love. (Would I have ridden a bull named Fumanchu? Wrong song.) But my attention might have been elsewhere. I could have missed “the dance.” So many wonderful times I experienced before… 

I believe it’s more advantageous I didn’t comprehend what the future held. But if I could have changed it, would I have? (Well, yeah!) But looking back on the things I have learned, the actual wisdom I now possess, the awesome people I have met, the dear friends who have reached out to me and grown closer, the unbelievably kind acts of service given to me and my family, the home remodel I’ve wanted for years (a big-time honey-do,) the heartfelt “I love you’s” spoken, the incredibly loyal and capable husband I rediscovered, and the faith, hope, and sheer will I have acquired, or enhanced – I wonder. 

Did this great tragedy shape who I am now? Is this my ultimate test? (How long will it last? I am seriously over it.) But I understand I don’t get to pass go and collect two hundred dollars. I won’t receive a free pass through the pearly gates. I still must continue to endure and genuinely be a good person throughout my life.

The moral to this story – Live each day to the fullest. Be “the king,” and take charge of your life. Grab life by the horns, and hold on tight. With the sour comes the sweet. See the good in each and every one of your trials.

“I could’ve missed the pain, but I’d have had to miss – the – dance.”

Doin’ Fine

Last weekend, I went to Lauren Alaina’s concert at Cherry Peak (a newer ski resort above Richmond.) It is definitely fall. It was exremely cold! She was the American Idol, Season 10 runner up in 2011. Her music is a fabulous mix of rock and country. Lauren has a genuine and kind heart, and writes many of her own songs, including, “Doin’ Fine.”

As I sat bundled up in my cocoon, this song struck a chord with me. Good thing I was wearing a hoodie to hide my face, because I cried through the entire song! (Like sobbing.) I’ve heard it before, but this time it meant so much more.

Even though the song is written about the divorce of her parents, it is also about being broken and an attempt at healing. In the chorus she sings, “I’m not okay, but I’m gonna be alright.” (I totally know the feeling.) Time doesn’t cure all inner wounds, but it does dull them and help them not to sting as much. We need to keep our hearts ‘wide open’ so we can feel love and gratitude for all those who care for us. Closed hearts shut people out, which is never advantageous. She refers to ‘growing pains’ in the song. At first I was confused as I took that literally, but it dawned on me that as we endure the pain and rough times, we grow. (So true!) Blame is our initial gut reaction, but through prayer and the grace (love) of God we can grow much closer to the point of healing. We all have tough times, and we might even hide the heartache and cry in private. Even though we are still hurting, things could be much worse, and you can honestly say, “I’m doin’ fine.”

My father instructed me many years ago that most people ask, “How are you?” in conversation. “Fine” is the correct answer. They are being courteous, and don’t really want to hear about your ingrown toenail or your bout of diarrhea. (Nowadays they call it TMI, Too Much Information.) This has occurred to me plenty of times in the past year. I am happy to truthfully say, “I have no pain, and I’m fine.”

I might be broken, wheelchair bound, and taking about 20 pills a day, but I’m alive and fine.

Trying for the Better – Sayings Saturday 5/27/17



Rehab, from a stroke, is a slow, tiresome process. (To put it lightly!) We don’t talk about great strides, but improvements are made in miniscule bits at a time. Some people in the same situation as mine just lay in bed all day. They have no will. No drive. No change. I don’t know if I’ll ever walk or stand alone again, but (man) I’m gonna work towards it. 

Why am I such a dreamer? Attitude, hope, determination. (My wish for pain.) I know it won’t happen unless I knock, or give it my best shot. 

Nishan Panwar is a internet sensation who thinks on the bright, and shares it. He just wants to improve his readers day. His words are so true. 

I am working for a better life, not just wishing on a star. I know I am a crazy optimist. (But aren’t I in great company?)