Open Thank You Letter to the Dixie Chicks

Natalie Maines.

Emily Robison.

Martie Maguire.

Three women I have never met yet who were instrumental in my survival during some dark days in my marriage and life.  Their voices and words from three albums in particular – Wide Open Spaces, Fly, Home – were on constant repeat mode in my iPod with my headphones plastered to my ears for nearly a year or longer back in late 2002 and all of 2003.

IMHO, Marriage is a journey with two people who at the base of their relationship love each other in such a profound way as to commit to share the rest of their lives together.  Sometimes the journey takes the couple to exotic locations where their minds and bodies become like intensely familiar entities who have been connected long before they met in this life.  Other times, the road darkens and couples get separated and lost in a dense jungle of terrifying emotion and doubt.  Mostly, I have discovered, the path is more like a hike up a favorite mountain trail – a bit rocky and steep at points but with long stretches of open terrain where we simply walk together holding hands, and now, leading our family.

It was during one of our trips to what seemed like the deepest part of the Congo where even breathing was difficult that I discovered the Dixie Chicks.  I had not previously listened to them, but heard a song on the radio and knew they understood what I was feeling.  So I bought the CDs in quick succession and played them over and over again alternately weeping, singing at the top of my lungs alone in the car, and dancing with my children in the living room.

It was as if their music was sent to me specifically at that time as an outlet for all of the unexplainable emotions my heart was breaking from.  They let me sing with them even though I had no idea how to join in a harmony or even match their melody.  When I sang with the Dixie Chicks, I was singing pure emotion and it was perfect.

I was reminded of this time in my life when I recently rediscovered my long forgotten, battery impaired iPod.

I was also sent others in this sisterhood who were not abstract voices purchased at the music store, but real women who had been to similar jungles, loved and survived their own harrowing trips and clung to my side, holding me up until I once again believed I could stand on my own.

I am still married and am grateful for it. I love my husband and am so glad we both decided to come out of the jungles together to proceed on our trek through some wondrous countryside that we might have missed had we given up.

I am, also, grateful for all of these women, their voices, and my ability to join them in this life.  I continue to meet more amazing women who share my joys, struggles and general love of the whole spectacular rave.

‘Cuz some days you gotta dance…