Cystic Fibrosis is an ugly disease. In fact, all diseases are ugly. They rob, take, cripple, hinder, and steal years from us and loved ones. My cousin, Kara Hay, passed away after winning her battle with CF. I was visiting one of my best friends in Virginia and at 5ish in the morning he came to wake me up to tell me that someone was on the phone for me. I picked up the phone to hear my mother tell me that Kara, only 20 1/2 years old, had died. My heart was heavy. Life really is a vapor, and for some it's even less. Kara was fun to be around. She was one of those kind hearted people that just held joy in her bones. I'm not sure if you know this or not, but those type of people are rare. The world is full of burdens and fears and weights and if anyone had a reason to be weighed down with that type of junk, it was Kara. But she didn't let that stuff effect her (at least not that I ever witnessed). She was strong. She was unbelievably strong in her relationship with God. The more stories I hear of her, the more envious I become of that relationship because it's almost as if she knew Him as her best friend (and if I'm being honest, after 31 years of life, I'm still searching to know Him like that). I admire her, I love her, and I miss her.
I'm not sure what you know about me, but I'm a musician. I handle my emotions through music. I tell stories about love, hate, life, death, pain, and joy through music. Many times I never let anyone hear some of the things I write because I wrote them for me. I wrote them to serve as a vehicle to help me cope or deal with whatever weighed on my heart. I still do that. This song was no different. I didn't write this song to be heard or with intent to share with anyone. However, I shared it with one of my sisters one day who encouraged me to share it with my aunt. The sharing didn't stop there. I played a gig with the John Claybrook Band in Prattville, AL for a DiscipleNow weekend. In the middle of the show I stood on the stage with just my guitar and a microphone and I told the story of this girl named Kara and then I sang the song. In this room full of teenagers something happened. The song became less about my emotions and more of an anthem for everyone in that room who was/had suffered the stinging pain of loss. After the show student after student approached me in tears to tell me how their grandmother died of lung cancer or they lost someone in their life with a respiratory disease. I was amazed and humbled. I never meant for anyone to hear this song. But after witnessing the effect it has on others, I am realizing that it is more than just a song for me. This is a song for you.
iTunes is scheduled to release "Free to Breathe" on Friday, May 18th on the iTunes music store. A portion of the proceeds of this song will be given away to help aid in the fight against Cystic Fibrosis and I'm asking you to buy it. You don't have to listen to it. You don't have to like it. But buy it. It's more than a song. It's a fight for a cure.