I have an uncle that lives in Texas. His name is Lex. I've only been around him a handful of times, so he's remained a fairly enigmatic part of my life. He's a music man. He's an amazing guitarist and he has fantastic naturally curly hair. He has a sweet wife that I've only met a couple of times and two beautiful daughters, my cousins, the oldest of which I've only met once, and the younger, not at all.
Through the medium of Facebook, Lex and I have been able to connect to a certain degree, be it sparsely and about fairly trivial things like discovering that we both love Imogen Heap, my straight hair vs. his curly hair, and comments on photos now and then. Those times we have interacted on Facebook are rare pearls that I've unconsciously tucked away in a safe place in my heart.
Today my mom sent me a link to a video. This video woke up an awareness of those safe heart-places and I am compelled to write about it.
I tell you that he's a music man, but that's not giving him enough credit. He's been involved in music his entire life. I don't know the whole story, and I realize as I type this that it's a story that I have a deep desire to hear, but I know he started playing the guitar when he was very young, and he never stopped. As far as I know, he's always been in one band or another. Music seems to be embedded in the fiber of his soul, filling all but the capacity of his mysterious heart.
Watching this video, my eyes smart with tears. The time I've spent with him in real life is scant. To see him moving and breathing rather than frozen in a photo gives life to so many amazing connections. In his face, I see my grandmother's eyes and my grandfather's mouth and nose. In his movements, I see my brother and my mother. In his voice, I hear that music that sings through so many generations of my family. In his eyes, I catch a glimpse of his mysterious heart, quiet and unassuming, gentle and soulful. And, as I watch him move on the screen, just singing a country song, I realize that, despite the miles between Idaho and Texas, despite the gap in our age, despite the acute lack of interaction between us, I know him. I feel a connection that goes beyond reason or cognitive understanding. I love him as though we had eaten dinner together every Sunday of my life.
In this somewhat simple, broken-hearted country song, my Uncle Lex sings his soul. And it resonates all the way to Idaho.
(He's the cute one closest to the camera with the guitar and the amazing voice)