Sometimes we think we know what the cards hold for us.
We lay them out, take a good hard look, and play the hand we’re dealt.
Sometimes we get stuck, but we muddle on through, hoping for a win.
And yet, no matter how we play the game, sometimes we win, and sometimes we lose.
It’s not the stumbling, and the giving up that matters most.
It’s the getting back up….
We step back, look at things from a whole new angle, and try again…
We take that first “Step of Faith.”
Some people see entertainers at a live music show, or on TV, and think “They’ve got it made.”
But just like everyone else, these well-known people have their share of ups and downs, too.
Some hide their struggle well, while others talk openly about them.
We think we know them by their appearance.
And sometimes we’re proven wrong….
At the invitation of Marbie Baugh, last Friday night she and I were members of a small, intimate crowd who gathered in the ballroom at The Standard at The Smith House in downtown Nashville to see how two people have struggled, and have overcome…
If you follow country music, then you’ve likely heard the story of Wynonna and Cactus –
the husband/wife team who travels the country, performing some of the old Judds standards, and some newer songs.
And you’ve likely heard the story of the accident that changed them forever…
I’d not been to The Standard, so I was looking forward to the show, on many levels…
A dark, quiet upscale room in Nashville, the ambience was just right for a very personal show.
And though I’ve seen Wynonna and Cactus perform before, in various rooms, somehow, once again, in a very different way, they stole my heart.
This night was a fundraiser for the Steps of Faith Foundation, a non-profit organization whose goal is “moving amputees forward.”
Executive Director, Billy Brimblecom Jr. started the night out with a heartfelt talk about his journey.
You can read his story, and more about the foundation here.
Billy Brimblecom, Jr., Executive Director of Steps of Faith Foundation shares his story
I knew basically what the fundraiser was for, and as I listened to Billy explaining about the evening, something across the room got my attention. When I turned to look, there was Cactus, standing tall in the crowd, listening intently to Billy. If one didn’t know that Cactus had lost a leg, it would be hard to know just looking at him…
When Wynonna and Cactus took the stage, the energy in the room was tender, and genuine, and heartwarming…
Though she’s used to playing sold out theaters, arenas, and various other venues, Wynonna seemed to be very much at ease with the small crowd. The music was extraordinary in this setting, and Justin Weaver’s gentle guitar provided just the right ambience when Wynonna talked to the audience. Speaking from the heart, she said “People look at us and they think we have it all.” In a very humble tone, far removed from celebrity, she talked about the costs involved in recovery and the world of prostheses.
Wynonna belting it out at Steps of Faith Foundation fundraiser
Talking openly to the crowd about what it meant for her and Cactus to be there to help this foundation raise money, her sincerity filled the room. Those who know the story know that Cactus lost his left leg in a motorcycle accident in South Dakota. While the focus after the accident was on Cactus, we often overlook the caregivers. It’s hard to imagine what Wynonna went through. In fact, I can’t begin to imagine it…
Cactus was told he’d never play drums again, but within three months, he proved them wrong. With grit, determination, and the help of his loved ones, he fought his way back.
And here they both were, a year and a half after their lives were altered forever, closer than ever.
Their love for each other was palpable…
Wynonna and Cactus at The Standard
Toward the end of the evening, Cactus shared more about the foundation. And I was stunned to learn that the money raised will not go toward the cost of the prosthetics. Money isn’t needed for them, because they’re all donated! What the money does go toward is the myriad ways that the amputees will need support for the rest of their lives.
Engraved on his left leg – “BELIEVE”
I am more profoundly amazed at the courage and resolve that amputees must have to put one foot in front of the other, and take those first steps. Our Wounded Warriors certainly deserve this kind of help, and there are so many others, like Cactus, whose lives were forever changed by an accident, who would benefit from the services that this foundation provides.
As the night was drawing to a close, Cactus jumped up and joined Wynonna front and center. Looming large beside her, he leaned over, rolled his pant leg up, and flashed a smile that lit up the room. He didn’t say much, but I thought about how absolutely blessed we are that he is still here with us, still making music, still touching people’s lives. And in that moment I heard this song running through my head…
“Love is alive and it’s made a happy woman out of me… Love is alive, and here by me…”
©2014 Sunny Stephens / http://www.SolitaryLogic.com
The photo of The Standard was graciously borrowed from their facebook page.