Pittsburgh: Christmas Connections
by Monica Yasher

Posted on 12/24/2009 by Monica Yasher

The holidays sometimes are not all joy for everyone. There are many that hurt. This past week, I had one of my dearest friends call me. She told me that her son wrecked the car two weeks in a row. They didn’t have money for repairs. She told me that her husband, being self employed during the holidays, was not getting paid by those that he worked for and she didn’t have money for Christmas. And, the kids today seem to expect so much. She also told me, she didn’t think she could make it through. My friend is also bipolar.

I’ve had my own set of problems this year, but I knew what she was saying. My friend and I are connected. She has been my friend for probably ten years now. She didn’t think she could make it through…. I told her that she needed to go to the hospital. She is there now and I know she is safe. I know that the people there will connect with her and pull her through. I also know that on the 26th of December, everything she was worrying about for December 25th, would be done and gone. Just one day in a life makes such a difference.

There is a blues artists named, Eric Bibb. I am a fan of Eric's. Eric is one of those blues artists that finds joy in the world and uses the blues genre to convey his message. As a songwriter, it is amazing how so few words being said can have such a huge impact on people. I don’t have to tell you that a word as simple as, “Yes“, to a question, can bring tears or joy to a person’s eyes. The power of words. The connection of a thought. The connection of a word.

Eric’s word power was so profound for Jeffrey Salovich. Jeffrey Salovich shared the following story on Eric’s Fan page. I am sharing this with all of you so that you may realize that though things may seem simply awful one day, there is a better tomorrow and time does fix things. This writing is for those of you worried about tomorrow and is a reminder that you need to live for today, because today is what is important. As you read Jeffrey’s story, you can see why it is important to live for today. And, this is an example how the blues can be a healer. Here is what he shared:

I still remember being treated at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester Minnesota, three years ago after under going brain surgery for an infectious abscess. During that time my wife, who was pregnant with our 4th child, just about lost him if not by the grace of God.

That time was uncertain for us as a married couple and for our three other children. Our trust was put in God, because we knew we could not do it by ourselves. We learned to let go and trust God, for better or worse.

During the spring of 2007, my wife was better and our child was growing strong in her womb. My treatment was working and I was feeling better. We took a trip up to Northern Minnesota along the shores of Lake Superior where we drove to Grand Marais, up the Gunflint Trail to a small cabin we rented for 3 nights. There we enjoyed being in the wilderness and in the quiet to reflect on life and enjoy one another as a family. We had much to be thankful for.

On that trip, we were searching radio stations in Grand Marais and came across WTIP- FM. It was on this station, that we first heard Eric Bibb. He was being broadcast from West Virginia and he was singing ‘Connected‘. His voice was so rich and the soul of the song caused me to ask my wife to write this man's name down so we could check him out at the music store when we hit the cities again. After ‘Connected‘, he sang 'For You', and 'I heard The Angels Singing'.

Fast forward to 2009. I graduated school. My family is healthy and our children are beautiful. My wife Amanda and I were finally able to see Eric perform live at the Dakota Jazz Club in Minneapolis, where he really and truly brought church to the Jazz Club scene. An amazing performance. We sat table side and were amazed and glad to be there. After, Eric took time to listen as we told him how we came about hearing of him. I told him, "Every time I hear you sing, I hear the gospel. And that's how I will always hear you." He smiled.

So, during this time of year where my family celebrates Christmas, I want to wish you all a Merry Christmas and to my Jewish friends out there, A Happy Hanukkah! Life is precious and life is sweet. Sometimes I need a rough day to keep me grounded to the fact that it’s here and gone so soon. I pray for you all much Grace, Mercy and Peace to you and your loved ones. In love, Jeffery

Just to offer support to what Jeffrey is saying, every Christmas I am reminded of the importance of seizing opportunities today because they may not be there tomorrow. I remember Christmas of 1997 when my kneeling wise man in the nativity set broke in half. Now my Dad was a great repairer of porcelain. He asked me if I wanted him to fix it. Always being in a hurry, I said, “No Dad, I just want to get things packed and put them away for next year. You can glue it when I take it out for Christmas next year.”

My Dad was diagnosed with Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in Spring of 1998 and passed away in September of 1998. Every year it is a constant reminder to me, when I take that wise man out, that I need to live the fullest for any given day. I find it interesting that it is a humble kneeling Wiseman that gives me that message yearly.

Take it from me, whatever you have worrying you, it will pass. And, I hope you find Eric’s song ‘Connected’ to be the blues healer that some of you may need this holiday season. Always keep in mind that you may be the connection that someone else needs.

So, this holiday season, connect with your family. Seize the day! Take care and may you and yours have a Happy Holiday!


Here is another great blues acoustic act American Blues News has covered:
Chris Smither

Copyright Jeffrey Salovich/Monica Yasher

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