Real Help for Real Living: Help! I’ve fallen to the dark side – I like country music

by Rev. Tony Marciano

Growing up on the “Jersey” side of metro New York City, there was a huge variety of music broadcast from The Big Apple to where I lived near the Meadowlands Sports Arena. Radio gave us everything from classical to oldies.

With all its variety of music, the city had only one country music station, and no one ever listened to it.  We knew it was there, but most of us were into our own style of music.

Fast forward to my life in Charlotte.  We are blessed to have more than one country station in the Queen City.  I’ve found myself listening to all of them. There are great country music groups such as Sugarland and Lady Antellebum.

One of my favorite country music songs is “What was I Thinking?” by Dierks Bentley. It’s about a high school kid who is out on a date with a beauty from southern Alabama. She snuck out and met him by the gate where she got in his truck, and her daddy, who had been in the slammer, peppered the guy’s tailgate. The second verse follows with the guy turning off his headlights and cutting through a corn field, all while his date screams “faster!”

Each time the chorus repeats: “Cause I was thinking about a little white tank top sitting right there in the middle by me. I was thinking about a long kiss…” I’ll stop and let you look up the rest of the words.

The chorus begs the question, “I know what I was feeling, what was I thinking?” I laugh every time I listen to this song.  How many times have I gotten myself into trouble by “knowing what I was feeling, but what in the world was I thinking?

A magazine ad says, “Smart listens to the head, stupid listens to the heart.”  I ripped the ad out of the magazine.  It now sits in my “in basket” outside my office.  When my “to do” box is empty, I’m reminded of this quote.

Is this quote correct or incorrect?  Does smart listen to the head?  If everything is kept so cerebral, we’re only considering the data.  I like what one person says – show me the data and the answer will jump off the page.  True – or is that partially true?  There are times where the data says, “Don’t do it.  You will fail.”  With only that data in front of us, we miss opportunities that can impact us, the people we love and our community.  We’ll never try anything where failure is an option.

Conversely, does stupid listen to the heart?  If you and I only make decisions based on our emotions, we will marry someone on the first date and wake up three months later and ask ourselves “What was I thinking?” Being more of an emotional person, I find that when I’m in a good mood, life is good; all decisions are yes, because nothing can stop me. I’m like Superman – bulletproof.  When I’m having a bad day, when my emotions are in the toilet, all decisions are a no, nothing is going to work, and it’s easy to give up.

So what do you do?  I think you do both.  I don’t think it’s wise to polarize our decision making process and use only our head or only our heart.

Both have an active part to play in life’s important decisions.

There is one more thing to consider.  Also include the counsel of others.

There is a Scripture verse that says, “There is wisdom in the counsel of many.”  As you seek to discern God’s will, there are three perspectives to consider.  When these three items line up, it is easier to make the decision. I will consider what God is saying to me; what I read in Scripture; and the counsel of Godly people.  Lining up all three helps me in the decision making process.

When that tough decision is facing you, use not only your head and your heart, but also engage those people whose wisdom you respect.

I’ll be back in two weeks.  Until then, live well my friend.

Rev. Tony Marciano is executive director of the Charlotte Rescue Mission and a regular South Charlotte Weekly columnist.  He is available to speak to your group.  Call 704-334-4635, ext. 213, to schedule him.

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