Real life categories 101: 1) headed for a crisis 2) in a crisis 3) coming out of a crisis. The calendar, circumstances and season of life determines your assigned spot. It’s not meant to be negative, it’s a simplified snapshot of life’s traffic patterns.

Entering the on ramp of the problem highway, not quite to the main road, be on high alert. Distracted drivers are caught in their own fray. A congested line of car after car combining bright red lights makes for a sea of autos, all seemingly oblivious to their surroundings. It’s exhausting and nerve wracking. In the midst of many, but feeling alone, cruise control switches on. You still have to be vigilant as the stop and go, ebb and flow, highs and lows, hills and valleys, potholes and construction cones, all determine how you maneuver.

The longer I live on this Earth, the more I’ve come to expect the unexpected. There is no immunity from the things in life that you think could only happen to others. Facing new critical issues isn’t a matter of if, but a matter of when. Sometimes that main road is a short journey, but often it’s a coast to coast highway.

If issues are a given, a respite and a refuge can determine between feeling you are traveling solo with a broken GPS or making progress. Moving forward is better than standing still, or worse yet, being thrown into reverse. But respite isn’t always what we expect it to be.

I’ve heard many say the voice of Elvis, the music, the sounds, the tones, the image, the legacy, the understood strong connection, made a difference at crucial points in their lives. He’s been a surrogate father, a mentor, a companion, an older brother, a boyfriend, a listening ear and a comfortable friend among a sea of strangers. 

His voice has held the hand of those awaiting surgery, sat in the waiting room with those anxious for news, lulled the worried to sleep, and cradled the heartbroken. He’s kept company with the lonely and brought internal calm to those surrounded by outside chaos. 

It’s a comfort to have a friend with you, not taking away the pain, but sharing it. The companionship of familiar voice and well known lyrics easing aloneness and recognizing soft tones soothes the spirit. We play the radio on those long trips for a reason – sometimes the loudness of silence is just too much to take.

There is a an internalized depth to Presley that’s very strong and very real. It’s in the music and the voice but there’s more. It’s a definite something that you know you know, and if you don’t, you can’t voice it adequately. It’s reading between the lines and understanding the intent. It’s a shared fellowship held by a past, present and future forever relationship. You feel it and so did he, fan to man and man to fan.

I knew from the moment I laid eyes on him. I can’t tell you why a little girl sitting in a darkened theater, feet dangling and too young to read the credits to know his name, felt that “aha” jolt, only that it happened. It was then he became a bridge over troubled water in the rough times, providing a thing called love in the good times.

Elvis is not meant to be deified but to be enjoyed, respected, and appreciated with a grateful heart. He not only changed the face of modern music, he inadvertently changed and enhanced the lives of those who who happened to get “him” as a bonus to the music. 

I’m grateful that I did, because him riding with me at the moment makes all the difference.