Hope: Believing in something that you can’t see.
2 weeks ago, I got a phone call that a colonoscopy found a cancerous tumor in my brother’s colon. The next day a CT scan showed tumors in the liver. The diagnosis was Stage 4 Colon Cancer. With each bit of news we watched our world crumble around us. We scrambled to find some part of hope to cling to – some piece of information that would mean that even though we couldn’t see the good outcome, it was there waiting for us.
There is a faith element of hope. The worker that lost their job and is looking for a new one. The child that has gone missing. The bad relationship that seems to never get better. . . . Sometimes you just have to believe. Hope doesn’t promise that the outcome you desire WILL happen, but hope inspires you to continue on – to go forward, to continue to TRY.
I have had this honky tonk band for almost 9 years now. I am working on my 5th CD - the 3rd CD of originals. I have received great reviews. I have toured in Norway, France, Sweden and the UK. I have played in some great historic Texas dancehalls. I was on Season 1 and Season 3 of the Tru Country Music Show on the RFD-TV Cable Channel. I have had 2 of my songs included in the Jack Black movie, “Bernie”. And even with all of this, I am a virtual unknown – a musician constantly on the edge of “failure”.
Throughout my “career”, I have perservered. I have continued to try because I BELIEVED that I would get to a better place as a musician – that I would find some measure of success that would help me continue to do the thing I love the most.
But I found myself in a dark place of discouragement around 2010. I wasn’t sure how long I could continue to go on. And then I started playing at this place called The Track Shack in Spring, TX. You would call it another crappy beer joint (and if you have been my fan for awhile, you KNOW I LOVE crappy beer joints). But it has become a sort of home for me. I perform there the first Wednesday and the first Sunday of the month. The first Wednesday is a full band show with primarily cover tunes. The first Sunday is a more acoustic show, where I’ll do a good mix of originals and covers.
But what has been amazing is how my audience has built – how they have responded to my original music. And how somehow through the process I have found a renewed sense of hope. I’m not hoping to be on the Grand Ole Opry or have a hit on Billboard but I’m hoping to just keep playing music. My goal is to be able to continue to write and record my songs. And to perform them live.
It’s not like some drastic change has happened. This is a little local bar in Spring – not some theater in downtown Houston. But it is truly amazing the transformation that can happen when you are surrounded by people that believe in you. Suddenly you have a renewed sense of strength and find within yourself not only the ability to continue on, but even a strength that carries you to new heights and on to that hope that you had lost.
My brother has received an overwhelming response from a whole network of people who believe – people who have hope. His first fundraiser by his home in Charlotte, NC is named “Fight Gone Good”. Someone asked me what that meant, and I’m not completely sure except my translation lately is that he is fighting for hope. He is trying. He is continuing on.
He has given me hope. Hope for him. Hope for me. Hope for all of us in this life struggling to live and to grow and to just be what we are meant to be.
After 3 days of testing and receiving news that his condition was not good, Joel went to another doctor at Duke University in Raleigh, NC. He received the first promising news that he had received in days – a course of treatment and the possibility of a successful fight. . . . The doctor’s first name was Hope.
Believe. I believe.
Joel Sloan pictured below.