When I was growing up in Boise, Idaho, there was a local singer named Steve Harmon. He sang at our church, and he also recorded a record called Stand By Him back in 1974. I grew up listening to that album. My mom played it often. You’ve never heard of it? I’m not surprised. I’m not sure that Steve was very well known outside our local area.
But Steve had a song called “Life Can Only Be,” and all these years later, the words to that song still run through my head on a regular basis. Life can only be what you make it to be. I think maybe I loved that line because it was the first time I realized as a kid that life was not just something that happened to you, and it was not just something dictated by your parents and teachers, it was something you could influence and, in some ways, control. Whatever did or did not happen in your life, was up to you. That was at once frightening and liberating, but mostly exciting.
Those words pop into my head now, often in the early part of the day, whenever it feels like things are not heading in the directions I want or when I’m feeling overwhelmed or unsure. They are a gift from a man who has since passed away and who never achieved fame or fortune from his music. I wonder if he’s sitting on the other side feeling pride in the fact that his art, his music, keeps me on course. That his words changed one life. I wonder if he feels that is legacy enough.