I heard the Commodores song “Easy” the other day for the first time in 36 years. There was a reason for the delay.
I hated that song.
I’d turn it off every time it came on, as the familiar waves of guilt and shame came over me.
This time I felt the nudge from the Lord. Listen to it.
When I did, I was shocked at the positivity of the lyrics. You see, I’d been conditioned to hear two words in the song: easy and high.
I was 16 and in a halfway house for drug addicts and alcoholics. I think the program started out with licensed counselors because it was accredited. But by the time I got there, adults who completed the program and had nowhere to go were promoted to counselors. Crazy, right?
But my counselor, Bill, a laid-back black man who’d once roomed with Eric Clapton in rehab, seemed like a legit counselor. He got results. Unfortunately, he got them by using the tools of the devil.
In the 80’s the term easy was the go-to word for someone who got around sexually. It was a moniker I’d somewhat unfairly been assigned and definitely worse than being a drug addict, at least in my head. In fact, the drugs only came after the sexual abuse, a numbing tool for the pain.
So Bill would play this song over and over and all I would hear was EASY and HIGH. I was a sobbing mess each time. Shaming me was supposed to bring about a resolve to change.
Being away from my family and also experiencing the beauty of a Texas landscape completely sober was what really brought about that desire.
Nevertheless, this was the tool he used. I don’t remember the words he said. I do remember the feeling. And I hated that song.
But once again, the Lord took something meant for evil and used it for good. Because when I listened to the song earlier this week, I heard Easy like Sunday morning… Why, Sunday mornings in the South are the epitome of peace.
Yes, I am now easy like Sunday morning…
The wanting to be “high” part? Well, regardless of Lionel Richie’s intent on that line, I choose to see being high as being extremely happy and free, much like the birds who visit my porch every morning.
This is not a bad song. It’s actually a great song about perseverance.
The lessons learned here are vast:
A) If you send a loved one to rehab, check out who is actually counseling them. (My time at this facility ended with a helicopter-and-SWAT-team FBI raid!)
B) Never use music to deal with problems. Satan uses music to fuel fires and plant discord. If you must blare something to deal with your emotions, I suggest TobyMac’s Move (Keep Walking) or Matthew West’s Hello, My Name Is.
C) Don’t let the devil keep you in bondage. I didn’t realize that little hold was still there until the song came on. You can’t afford little holds because they always turn into bigger chains.
D) Forgive! I’d already forgiven Bill (and the others involved) because they did what they thought would work. Maybe it’s my naivety coming out, but I think there was a true desire to help people. They were wrong, no doubt about it, but hanging on to a decades-old resentment, no matter how justified, will only hurt you.
I look back now on my time there fondly. I had my ever job at Denton County Hamburgers. My dad and I revisited the restaurant about 20 years ago and indulged in a Hickory Bacon Cheeseburger. That’s also where I learned how to count back change!
The horses were soothing and the Texas sunsets were amazing.
I learned how to say no (or face bathroom cleaning duties for a month) and I learned how to strip down all of my pretenses and just be myself. I discovered that girl was enough.
I met a boy whose mother I am still in touch with today.
God was at work, even then. In the midst of all that was wrong, He was still right.