Choose Courage

This morning, as I was driving Ellie to school, I felt the urge to put the Jack Johnson station on Pandora.

From the moment I heard his voice I couldn’t stop smiling, and a rush of memories and joy flooded my heart and mind. I was transported back to 2005, driving down Valley Mills road in Waco, TX with my boyfriend at the time (and future husband), Andrew, headed to Barnes & Noble to study for a college exam.

ANDREW: “Bailey, you have to listen to this. I really like the messages in this guy’s songs.”

That was how Andrew introduced me to Jack Johnson. When I first heard his music sitting in the parking lot at Barnes & Nobel, I didn’t really know what to think. I didn’t really get it. I was probably thinking Andrew and I definitely didn’t have the same taste when it comes to music, and yet I was intrigued with Andrew’s connection and passion for Jack’s music.

Before our wedding day, Andrew threw out a Jack Johnson song suggestion for our first dance, which I quickly shot down.

When Andrew got diagnosed with cancer I remember feeling really bad about not letting him choose the song for our first dance, or the cake, so on our 5th anniversary I tried to re-create the cake he wanted from the movie, Meet Joe Black, (spoiler alert: it looked nothing like the cake from the movie) and I played “Better Together” by Jack Johnson for us to dance to.

Like most things in our relationship it took me some time to catch on, but I eventually realized what Andrew loved so much about Jack Johnson’s music. It was Jack’s depth and the powerful messages about culture he writes in his songs.

I get it now and I love his music, as does Ellie. Whether it was music, ideas, beliefs, you name it, Andrew was always taking me out of my comfortable box and opening my eyes to new possibilities. He challenged the status quo and that’s one of the things this recovering people-pleaser loved about him the most.

On paper we were polar opposites, which is what both drove me crazy and drew me to him. He was everything I wasn’t, but wanted to be.

He was ahead of his years in so many ways, an old soul with an ocean of depth, and always pushed me to expand my thinking outside of what I thought to be true. He knew what I was capable of, but was too afraid to become.

He showed me how to have faith and courage in the face of fear in order to rise to the occasion for a much bigger purpose.

That spirit and essence is what I connect to every day. It’s the fire that keeps pushing me forward, stretching me beyond my limitations of myself, and it’s the voice in my head reminding me to think bigger and to ask why and to never stop rising.

That’s my hope for you and me— that no matter how afraid we are, when the moment presents itself we will choose COURAGE and to NEVER, EVER stop rising! Thank you for spending time with me today. Love and Blessings!

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