Chely Wright’s courage is contagious! Today she came out as a lesbian. This County and Western star is gutsy! Her voice of truth will inspire and give courage to millions. The journey to becoming fully human is one that she embraces.
On Sunday night, members of her family and a small group of friends gathered in New York to celebrate and surround her with love. We all knew that Chely’s decision to speak her truth was a risky one. Never before has a female Country and Western singer publicly acknowledged her sexuality. Some wondered whether she’d ever be invited back to sing at the Grand Old Opry, Country and Western’s revered temple of music.
A luminous spirit radiates from Chely Wright. Her music, like her life, is filled with hope. No wonder she was the first artist to go to Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein to sing for and encourage the troops. Her Reading, Writing and Rhythm Foundation in Nashville works to encourage music education in public schools. In the same way that her life and work gives hope and voice to others, her coming out is a lifeline of hope and life-giving spirit to those who want an authentic life.
We love celebrities. We’re used to the imperfections of their lives picked over by the media. Extra-marital affairs, sexting, substance abuse and ugly family dramas are the diet we’re used to being fed about them.
Chely is a celebrity whose truth-telling invites people to think about living a life of integrity. She has claimed the truth that she is loved by God and herself for exactly who she is. In addition to her music, she has learned to trust her own voice of who she is as a person. That is a courageous step on the path of any person becoming fully human, fully alive.
My brother-in-law and his friends are millennial country and western fans in a farming community. They break the nasty stereotypes of Country and Western fans being bigoted rednecks. Most of his generation thinks that the obsession with sexuality in some quarters is an “old persons” issue. My guess is that most of these Millenials, far from scorning Chely Wright, will admire her for being real, truthful and authentic.
Her love of God, self, country and others suddenly became even more real! That’s a life being lived well. It is an invitation to have the same integrity about who we are as individuals. Kudos to Chely Wright for her faith, hope, trust and love – in herself, God and her fans!
It is contagious courage – even the Grand Old Opry will surely continue to honor one of its own?
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