the beginning.

November 6, 2011

This past week has been pretty overwhelming. On the 29th I had the honor of performing two of my originals at Belmont’s Fall Follies (A comedy show very similar to SNL with featured musical guests.) I’ve dreamt of playing Follies for the past four years when I first saw the Delta Saints play the event. I auditioned last year but didn’t make it through the large sea of qualified musicians. This year I upped my game with a new song, “Quitter.”

This post isn’t really about playing Follies. And although it was an absolute dream come true, it really represents something else: the beginning. The night before Follies, I prayed to God that this would be the day I dare to hope for my musical career. I had no idea how much He would respond with that prayer.

I’ve been working on my guitar and reinventing myself as an artists like crazy lately. I don’t think I was ready before. I needed a season to be at war with the changes of the wreck and decide if this is what I really wanted. It hasn’t been easy. I’ve had the rug pulled out from under me a few times, one specific instance inspired “Quitter,” but I’ve been in a season of trying to obey God. I’m not sure how well I’ve been doing, but I know that for every inch I’m willing to give, He’s ready with miles.

“Quitter” has gone over really well with my peers. I must say, I love singing it. God is so mysterious, because I wrote the song in a lot of pride and anger over someone who hurt me, and God has taken that song and has used it to move others and draw them to Him (including me). I think people relate to recovery stories. They want to recover. They want to grow. They resonate with the truth that in the mess, there is one resounding truth, we’re all human beings created by the Savior and Creator of the universe.

I’m still learning what it means to be a forgiver, and I think the greatest lesson I have to learn is fully giving my life to God. I’ve been a bit overwhelmed by how quickly God is moving my career forward. I almost forgot. God is the Author of Time. He will give me more songs to write in His timing. He will open up the opportunities and help me meet them in His timing. And my greatest priority should not be my music but making Him Lord over my life, which is no small task for a control freak.

So stick around. Things are really moving forward, fast. And I can’t think you enough for sticking it out with me this far. Lord knows it’s been a journey. Here’s to the beginning.

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two years ago today.

September 17, 2011

there are so many things i want to tell you.

first, is that i intentionally did not want to anticipate this day with dread.
there are so many people who are chained to a day. or a season. or a feeling.
and so i had options. i could dread the anniversary of my wreck. i could put it out of my mind. or i could try to live a life of joy and come upon the day hoping not to find shackles on my heart.
i chose the latter.

so i came upon the week leading up to the anniversary without any consequence. aware of how much had changed this year and how much i remember from the past two years when fall comes. fall had always been my favorite of the seasons, and now, it is easy to let my mood change with the weather. it’s easier to occupy oneself with other thoughts when it is warm outside.

but i’ve been determined to bring about a new season with the fall, to redefine a time. and please don’t misunderstand, i’ve been doing really well. in fact, i’m very happy. i’ve been really working on my guitar, even left handed; and i’m getting so much better. i’m coming to realize how much God has in mind for me by relearning guitar. (more on this in the next post.) but God has taught me joy and i live and breathe in the challenge of it.

so i came upon the anniversary this week busy with my life. two days before i went on a walk with a good friend and we crossed the street to where the wreck took place. i’ve been back once before, but never by crossing the street. i could stand there and remember and i was fine. i’ve moved on. but yesterday was hard for a few hours.

i’m doing well today. and i am trying to understand why i was upset yesterday. it wasn’t the memories. it was remembering the journey and being on the journey.

i sometimes get overwhelmed by how much i want to do. how much i want to write, read, think, sing, dance, laugh. i want to learn, grow, work for my achievements, know people, explore new things, and love. i think one of the most important things that i’ve learned and i am still learning is to rejoice in sufferings.

how do we know joy on days like these?

if you find yourself dreading a day, i pray that you come to find joy. joy doesn’t always look like happiness, but i think the best way to describe it is trust. trust that there is something bigger than you. a God who is bigger than the moment you are in. trust requires letting go. i think it looks like acceptance. i think it feels like breathing. i think it moves in freedom. i pray for joy.

and i rejoice knowing that God knows my tomorrows.

the chicken or the egg.

December 29, 2010

as promised, my video project is now available online! and for now, embedded exclusively here, on my wreck account blog! thank you to all of you who have kept up with my story. some of you come to me, ashamedly admitting that you have been reading, as if it is some sort of invasion of my privacy. don’t worry, i keep a private journal. this blog is for the purpose of the public eye. it means a great deal to me that you have been reading. so thank you.

the following video is something i put together with my awesome and generous friend, justin wylie, for a scholarship application. for those of you who have been following the blog from the beginning, you will understand why this is a really big deal for me. admittedly, i am playing right-handed guitar for this song. it is a little glimpse at the past and an open view of my current situation. this is the first song i wrote on my right-handed guitar following the accident. my guitar had been in his case for a very long time prior to this song…here’s how i felt about that:

http://player.vimeo.com/video/18247919

Kristen Wright | “The Chicken & The Egg” from Justin Wylie on Vimeo.

the chicken or the egg

does it really matter
what came first?
the chicken or the egg?
i don’t care
i don’t care

what am i supposed to do with this
new kind of loneliness?
a heart cut down
in the top of her pride

when i saw him today
i thought i would cry
and all i can ask is, “God,
why, why, why?”

i’ve learned that in loss
we’ve gotta love
even when no one understands
love with all we’ve got
cause that’s what the heart demands

You smile as i admit it
“i am weak”
and i cling to the feeling of Your lips
on my cheek

I’ve learned that in loss
we’ve gotta love
and he feels familiar in my hands
i’m gonna love with all i’ve got
cause that’s what my heart demands

(copyright 2010)

happy new year everyone. here’s to more in 2011!

a year ago today.

September 17, 2010

can i tell you a story?

it’s a pretty good story.

a year ago today, i was in a car accident that resulted in the loss of two fingers on my left hand. (this of course is not the good part of the story, but all good stories must have some sort of conflict.) a year ago today, i was running late and got in my van and crossed a busy street. a year ago today, i didn’t see him coming. a year ago today i found myself being carried out of a broken car window. a year ago today i was waiting for an ambulance on a curb shouting out to God.

this was thursday, september 17th, 2009 around 6pm, around 15th and wedgewood.

yesterday, thursday around 2:30, i was dancing in my room trying to loosen up after i accidentally locked myself out of my apartment while taking out the trash. me, being the athletic champion that i am, fell on my left arm, spraining my elbow. i had to go to class, but about an hour later, i could no longer straighten my arm or bend it very far due to swelling. my pain level was pretty high, and everything was feeling pretty ironic. i was worried that i had fractured something, because i’ve never broken a bone, and around 6:00, i found myself contemplating the E.R.

now you can imagine why this might be a problem for me. (by the way, it is extremely ridiculous that this happened to me, and it’s okay to laugh!) but at the time, it wasn’t feeling very funny. amazingly enough, someone from belmont’s athletic training center was available to check out my arm. after finding the center, there just so happened to be a doctor from vanderbilt hospital in the office at belmont. this doctor also happened to know my wonderful surgeon. after examining my arm, he confirmed that i had only sprained it, and now i’m on ice and anti-inflamitories.

so the moral of this story?

well, me being me, i fell on my left arm on the eve of my wreck anniversary. God took the opportunity to remind me, “hey, remember how you are weak and I am strong?” then i was able to avoid the E.R. “hey kristen? remember how I provide for you?”

after twelve months, it can be really easy to forget what it is like to be physically in need, but that was a good portion of my year. so many of my loved ones encouraged me to look on this day with celebration. it is good to remember how far i’ve come.

i’ve waited for this day all year, and it has been quite a year. it has been amazing to see how the events of this past year are lining up in different ways this week. i can say that i am relieved, and extremely thankful. i am overwhelmed by the support, love, and prayers that have been showered in my direction. you all mean so much to me, and even if we do not know each other, thank you for the honor of having you read my story. stick around! i have a feeling that God is only getting warmed up.

september.

September 2, 2010

well…it’s september. in just over a couple of weeks i will have completed my first year since the wreck. my heart is filled with two very different emotions. one, dread. it has been interesting to be back at belmont for a fall semester. fall semesters are far different from spring semesters. everything is new and there is so much to adjust to. it’s very easy to get wrapped up in the idea of “a year,” but most of all, i fear how i will feel on that day.

last year, around this time, i had this Holy Spirit kind of feeling in my gut like my life was about to change drastically. i felt like i was on an edge and that everything was about to tip into motion. one could argue instead that the motion of my life came to a halt. in so many ways, it did. within the months following my wreck, i learned so much about the importance of rest (however, i still have much more to learn). really though, i think my life just took on a different pace, and maybe a ninety degree turn. God has been teaching me so much over the last twelve months and i know it’s only the beginning.

which brings me to my second emotion: relief. i am so ready to have made it through the first year. someone asked me once if my current state of being with eight fingers was a touchy subject. the answer? absolutely not. this is my reality now. it’s not like a bad breakup that i would prefer not to mention until i’m in a new relationship. getting through the first year is a relief because i can begin to dwell in life outside of the first year of healing.

i have wonderful news to report. when i left for school last january, i measured my grip strength to be around a 24 in my left hand (remember, it was initially a 4?) with my right hand around a 60. i went into the physical therapy office right before i moved back to nashville and my new left hand grip is a 37 with my right hand getting even stronger at a 79. my left hand is now over half the strength of my original right hand grip, and i think my right hand is getting stronger from playing left-handed guitar (which is getting a lot better). overall, everything is getting better. i’m writing again, piano seems to be opening up new creative opportunities, and my degree is taking some exciting turns at belmont this semester. please pray for me as the 17th draws closer. thanks for all the support this past year. more to come!

nine months.

June 17, 2010

today marks nine months since the accident. i know i haven’t written in two months. i’m going to do what i usually do and blame it on homework. although, i am happy to report that i am six days away from being completely done with summer school! this means that i am home in indiana again. i am taking six credit hours at the local community college which will help me to keep a more sane level of course work when i go back to nashville in the fall. to clarify, i am not taking summer school so that i can “graduate on time.” the semester off last fall will have me graduating in december of 2012 instead of may, but that is within four years of schooling.

it is so good to be home. i am completely devoting this summer to relearning guitar and making music. i have been picking up the guitar more than ever now that i have more time on my hands, and i am starting to get more familiar with my old tricks. i am even writing a little bit more, which is extremely exciting. i have really struggled with the pressure of writing over the past nine months, but i am starting to learn how to let go of that. at first, i really struggled to write because i was afraid of having to write amazing, gut wrenching, post car accident songs. those may come, but i’ve learned that writing is a creative process that isn’t meant to be pushed into a mold. also, i had a lot of baggage with learning to write without my guitar skills as a firm foundation. before, i wrote within the limits of my guitar (which is a horrible place to be, even before a double digit amputation); and now, i’m learning to write without that limit. it is a much freer and a much more terrifying place to be as a writer, but i am anxious to see what songs may come of it.

being as it is nine months since the accident, i wanted to do something special, so i’ve included a photo of me playing left handed. sometime in the future, i’d like to do a video, but this should do for now. as you may be able to see, there is a little contraption clipped to the bottom of the sound hole.

playing left-handed with my new hand saddle!

just earlier this week, my dad fashioned a sort of saddle for my left hand to rest in. my dad is a genius. i was telling him that i was having trouble stabilizing my left hand for finger picking because i used my pinky against the frame of the guitar when i was playing right handed. it is difficult to see in the picture, but he essentially made me a device to stabilize my hand over the strings. i just started working with it earlier this week, so everything is really new. i will keep the blog updated to see how i progress with it. right now, it works great; however, my left hand doesn’t. so it will definitely take some practice.

as far as everything else goes…i’m doing pretty good. God has blessed me with the greatest family and friends anyone could ask for (yes, this means you!), and my PTSD isn’t as acute as it was earlier this year. i still get the occasional bad day, but God has taught me so much in this journey, and i am so blessed! i promise to update this blog FREQUENTLY this summer. once summer school is over (6 DAYS!) i will be nonstop music. i love you all, and thank you for all your support and prayers these past nine months!

i’m learning what it means to be content. tomorrow marks seven months since my accident and i’ve gone through a lot of significant struggles and changes since that day. i’m at a place now where i am learning to accept where i am and be content with what i’m doing with my life. i’m not saying it’s easy. some days are better than others and i often find myself feeling extremely behind. because my guitar skills have been stripped away, i often feel like all the work i have done up until this point has been erased and i have to start again at square one.

but it’s important for me to remember where i was seven months ago and where i was five months ago, and so on. i am physically independent again. i am no longer changing bandages on my body. i am a full time student. my life is surrounded by music daily and i am enjoying my time here at belmont. no, i’m not where i thought i would be a year ago, but i am where i need to be in this healing process. i came here to this semester to finish what i started last semester, and that’s what i’m doing.

i’m really looking forward to the summer. i haven’t been able to devote as much time to guitar and piano as i would have liked since i’ve been here and i have cleared my schedule to do just that. i lot of patience is going to be needed ahead. prayers are appreciated! 🙂

i’m officially done with physical therapy today! i am thrilled with the progress i’ve made. my hand has improved tenfold since i started back at the end of october. i mastered the dreaded black clothespins, the heaviest weight. and i am especially proud to say i met my grip strength goal today! my initial grip strength in my left hand was a four, while my right hand was around a sixty. my therapist said our goal would be twenty. i was thrilled the day i met the strength of ten, but today, my grip strength was twenty-four. my left hand is at least one-third the power of my right, and that is a huge comfort. when i think back to where i was, this is the sweetest of victories. of course, my therapy does not really end. everyday is a new challenge for my hand, and my hand is meeting it. a good friend asked me the other day what my biggest limitation is at this point (aside from guitar and piano). i answered my grip strength, and even that isn’t so bad anymore.

the dreaded black clothespins

of course, this is not the entire picture of the challenges ahead. i leave for school on the tenth and i have no idea what God has in store for me this year. i do know that i’m pretty much open to anything now. my life is God’s. that’s one thing i’ve definitely taken away from all of this. pray for me with this semester coming up. i’m a little anxious about it still, but i’m also eager for a change of pace. there are a lot of unknowns ahead, but i do know that God is my life now. happy 2010 everyone!

three months.

December 18, 2009

my accident happened three months ago yesterday. obviously since the last entry is entitled “two months,” i haven’t written in a while. somehow i’ve been relatively busy. i was fortunate enough to still have the opportunity to sing in “christmas at belmont,” so i journeyed down to nashville to sing the music i had been learning from home with my peers. it’s a massive event, if you’ve never experienced it. i highly suggest you turn your TVs to PBS on the evening of the 23rd (check your local listings for the time). i’ve included a little sampler HERE — my group, session, singing with our wonderful host, trisha yearwood! 🙂

this past month has been a little bit more directed toward sliding into normalcy. i’m now typing with two hands and learning how to do it better. allowing myself to go out in public without any sort of glove on, unless i’m cold. haha! gripping “paper thin” picks and building up some strength strumming my left-handed guitar. i french-braided my hair for the first time a couple of days ago! and other exciting victories that allow my left hand some independence.

i recently purchased rob bell’s new book “drops like stars.” i highly recommend picking it up. it’s about suffering and creativity — something extremely relevant in my life right now. i’ve been painting a lot. it’s very calming and relaxing for me and it helps me creatively express myself in a time where guitar cannot as easily fill that need. you may have noticed the new banner above, it’s one of my watercolor paintings. it’s good to still feel like an artist. God is healing me with the endless possibilities in creativity.

two months.

November 20, 2009

two days ago marked two months since the day of my accident. people have asked me if the time has flown by. in a way it has, but it also seems like that day was so long ago. isn’t that how it always is? time does seem to move a lot faster when life isn’t all consumed the way mine used to be. i feel like a kid on summer vacation. yet so much has happened in the past two months, i feel like that day was a year ago. i guess it is good to report that my days are not dragging along. but the 17th of the month always seems a little longer.

the past month has thankfully been a little quieter. more physical therapy, no surgery. it’s strange looking back on the challenges from the past two months. the day of my wreck. losing one finger. the week at the hospital. living with my hand attached to my hip. losing another finger. going home to heal. getting acquainted with a new hand. teaching that new hand old tricks…and those are only physical challenges. there have been several mornings i have woke up to look at my hand, only to realize that my fingers are not coming back, and the challenges are not going away. when i dream, i have two whole, healthy hands. i guess there’s a part of me that is under the impression that my body is just going through a phase, like a fractured wrist, and i will heal and go back to the way things were.

i’m slowly learning to see my hand as my hand. i know one day it will feel natural and all, but i also know i’ll look back on this moment and be glad i left it behind. the past two months have been a sequence of events i never want to live again. i never want to go back to the days i had my flap. i never want to go back to the day i saw my hand in the mirror for the first time. i’m sure i will not want to go back to this moment, but i’ve learned we must live in the difficult moments we are in until we can look back and see how far we’ve come.