I am very pleased and proud to be the mother of two sons who have (as one of you fans said in your letter) developed into masters of the craft that they have chosen! It overwhelms me when I realize that MY SONS are both known and respected all over the world for their music!
I have been blessed to be able to travel from Oak Cliff and Austin (the heart of Texas) to New York's Carnegie Hall - to New Orleans' Mardi Gras - to the Bush Inaugural Ball in Washington, D.C. - to see and hear them both play as well as watch both of them on national television! PROUD? YES! I AM PROUD OF BOTH OF THEM!
As their mother, I have known the pain of watching them struggle through years of alcohol and drug abuse, and all that goes with it; the joy of seeing them rise up in the midst of that and accomplish musically what they have! I have known the feelings of helplessness when they went through the trials of sobering up; and the joy of seeing them climb the steps of sobriety. I have witnessed the sweet spirit of love and generosity that emerged as they each climbed out from under the mask of their addictions. I experienced the shock of losing one of those sweet spirits and the on-going pain of grief. But, along the way, I also experienced the love and encouragement from thousands of fans who sent cards and letters as they, too, dealt with their own grief. Many fans shared how Stevie touched their lives in so many ways.....helping many to address their own addictions and start down their own path to sobriety.
Many of you have inquired as to how Stevie's spirituality helped him overcome his addictions. I am happy to be able to share this part of his life as I know it from our many talks and from his sharing during his concerts. Many times I listened with tears in my eyes and joy and thanksgiving to God in my heart as Stevie shared with his audience how he had been given a second chance. He always thanked God he was alive and able to go on doing what he loved to do, and that was play his music for the world - to give back some of what he had been blessed with - to share his God-given talent with others.
Stevie accepted Jesus Christ as his Saviour when he was quite young.This was about the time Jimmie was beginning to play for school dances, etc., and Stevie was learning to play the guitar with Jimmie's help and using Jimmie's guitar when it was available. Later on, he formed his own band, and began playing wherever he could. Many years later when he realized he had messed up his life and health, and was at the end of his rope - he and Tommy Shannon realized they needed help - they got down on their knees and called out to God for help. And God heard their prayers. Stevie went into the hospital in Europe. He called me asking me to come to a hospital in London where he was going. I did. I felt so helpless because I didn't know how to help him. I prayed. I wrote letters to every praying Christian I knew, asking them to pray for Stevie's recovery. He got through all that pain and addiction by ASKING FOR THE LORD'S HELP. The Bible - the Word of God - says, "You have not because you ask not." Then he did what he knew to do and did the best he could. It wasn't easy, but his faith and determination got him through it.
I am so thankful for the last four years of his life. He became the beautiful, kind, loving person whom the drugs and alcohol had covered up and tried to destroy. I praise the Lord for what He did in Stevie's life. I know that God loves each of you just as much as He loves Stevie, and will do for you what He did for Stevie. Most of you have heard the verse of scripture, "For God SO loved the world (that's us!) that He gave His only Son (that's Jesus) that whosoever (that's you and me!) believes on Him should not perish but have everlasting life." Jesus did not come to condemn us but that thru Him we could be saved (from death and hell). Some people say they do not believe in God. The Bible says, "You are saved by faith....not of your works (lest we should boast)" and that "Without faith it is impossible to please God; for he that comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him." It also says, "God has dealt to every man the measure of faith," and that "if you have the faith of a grain of mustard seed you can say to this mountain (or problem - or addiction) be thou removed and it shall be done", "for nothing shall be impossible to you."
Jesus said, "I am the Way - the Truth - and the Life - no man comes to the Father but by me." This is how Stevie's belief in God - his faith in Jesus Christ - helped see him through his recovery and made that recovery possible. One of Stevie's favorite mottos was the familiar "Let Go and Let God."
Stevie kept a journal - a personal journal - which I found about two years after his death. The journal seemed to be written to God or as a conversation with God. I share the following excerpts:
You see, it's a big world out there...there's enough pain and misery in it without me going around and helpin' it out by hurting myself, and consequently, those that care about me. What I'm trying to get across to you is: Please take care of yourself and those that you love...because that's what we are here for, that's all we've got, and that is what we can take with us."
Copyright © 1996 Martha Vaughan All Rights Reserved