I’m not a country music fan but I have season tickets to the Country Music Hall of Fame. I’ve been wooed across the state line twice in 5 months to wander the halls with fans from around the globe. In case you’re wondering what would compel such strange behavior I have a few words for you: #1 road trip — I love a good road trip especially through the beautiful, rolling Tennessee hills. #2 my people — I married a country music lover and birthed country music lovers. A good road trip with my people is all it takes to get this homebody moving.
I planned the first trip to the Country Music Hall of Fame (CMHF) because that’s what my son wanted to do for his birthday. Nashville is his birthplace and we lived there for five years but never went to the CMHF. I always imagined a bunch of “gee-tars” hanging on the wall while staticky, country music blared in the background.
I didn’t know what I didn’t know and boy was I in for a surprise. I don’t like surprises (Yes, I have control issues.) but this was a good one! So good, obviously, that I planned the second trip with my daughter because she was away at college for the first trip.
In this post, I want to share a few pictures from the first trip and the lesson I learned.
The Smithsonian of Country Music
The Country Music Hall of Fame is called the “Smithsonian of country music” for a good reason. According to the website, it’s 350,000 square feet of dynamic state-of-the-art galleries where visitors are immersed in the history and sounds of country music, its origins and traditions, and the stories and voices of many of its honored architects. The story is revealed through artifacts, photographs, and text panels, with a rich overlay of recorded sound, vintage video, and interactive touchscreens.
Wow! What a time we had! I took lots of pictures and really enjoyed watching my family have a good time. The takeaway I want to share with you from the first trip is this:
Lesson #1 Keep Your Heart Open
I didn’t go to the CMHF expecting to hear and see a story but within minutes I was captivated. In my mind, I’d planned the trip for someone else and my job was to navigate, take pictures, and stand back and watch everyone have a good time. Oh, I planned to have a good time, too, because navigating, taking pictures and observing is my idea of good time. But the good time was all in my head. Not in an imaginary sort of way but totally cerebral. I didn’t expect to have my heart touched.
Blindsided by the Story
Stories have a way of touching our heart.
At the Country Music Hall of Fame, I saw so much more than memorabilia and guitars on the wall. The candid family photos, song lyrics scribbled on notebook paper, and personal items told the true story of men and women I only knew as award-winning legends of country music. I heard lots of good music (no static), tapped my toes, and even got teary-eyed a few times. Thank you very much, Loretta Lynn! (My favorite part by the way!)
I can’t believe I’d actually considered dropping my country-music-loving-crew at the front door and heading to a good thrift store. Oh, what I would have missed!
I still don’t know the words to most of the songs. I can’t “name that tune” or identify the singer unless its Johnny, Willie or Dolly.
But, I’m so thankful to have been blindsided by the stories of the Hall of Famers. I understand a little more about who they are, where they came from, and why they do what they do. And I understand now why so many people around the world love country music.
Keep Your Heart Open
Keep your heart open to the stories around you.
We might make the same mistake in life passing up people and opportunities, certain we know the true story. We opt-out, check-out, and tune-out the stories being told all around us. And oh, what we miss!
I know you, friend. You’re not concerned about or impressed with the glitz and glamour of life. You love God and His people fiercely. And you definitely don’t want to miss out on the good stuff—AKA the abundant life Christ offered.
So I hope you’ll allow me to offer a few suggestions that might help you keep your heart open to the stories around you:
- Buy a “ticket” to your life. Because you only have one. Commit to making the most of it. Invest yourself in your own life.
- Ask questions. Because you don’t know everything there is to know. Take every opportunity to learn something new about the people around you. Jesus is definitely the smartest man who ever lived but He was always asking questions! Take a minute to think about why.
- Listen carefully. Because you can hear but not really listen. Listening is one of the best ways to learn. Listen without judgment. Listen without thinking about your response. Listen without debate. Listen to understand.
- Engage. Because you can show up but not be present. Lean in close. Make eye contact. Be curious and pay attention. Take mental notes.
- Expect the best. Because you control your happiness. Live with hope. Look for God in every situation. Believe that He is always at work around you teaching and molding you (and others) into the person He created you to be.
In the next post, I’ll share about my second trip to the Country Music Hall of Fame (with more pics) and the second lesson I learned.
Until then, I’d love to know:
Have you been to the CMHF?
What was your favorite part?