The day Johnny Cash died, “I taught the weeping willow how to cry.”
It would be hard for me to underestimate the influence this man and his music have had on my life. He made me proud of my southern roots. He made me proud to be an American. He taught me how to fall in love. He taught me about repentance and grace and second chances. He made me proud of my faith.
Big River was one of the first songs I knew all the words to and remains my favorite among many, many great songs. I listened to ‘Live at San Quentin’ about a thousand times and ‘Story Songs of Trains and Rivers?’ about a thousand more. I love him when I was a kid. Then I grew up. Then I loved him more.
The Man in Black epitomizes grace and grace under pressure. His faith, born of difficulty and failure, is as strong as an oak. His love affair with his wife June Carter, and the roads they walked to get to their love, inspired me to learn to love like that. I’ve missed him. He is worthy of being missed.
So take some time tonight to remember the gentleman of Outlaw Country. Listen to some old tunes or watch the recent biopic. Say a prayer for the prisoners that Johnny Cash loved so dearly and remember that it was his desire that everyone, even you, would be free and learn to live in and love his Lord. Happy Birthday, Mr. Cash, thank God for you.