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Discussing religion, spirituality and values. Amy Umble is the religion reporter for The Free Lance-Star. You can email her at
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David Bailey: Live the Time

I’ve been working on a story about Christian musician David Bailey who died last week in Charlottesville. David lived in Stafford for 12 years with his wife, Leslie, and children, Kelcey and Cameron. In 1996, he was diagnosed with Glioblastoma Multiforme IV. He was given about six months to live. David decided to use the time he had left to encourage and inspire others. He was also determined to beat the cancer.

Recording engineer Donny Holcombe worked with David in Donny’s Spotsylvania studio. He said, “You just want to talk about one tough, tenacious, stubborn individual. That’s why he survived so much.”

David’s gifts were not just sharing a message of hope, Holcombe said, but also of seeing life in a different way. He referred to a story about a parking meter. David pulled up to a parking space and saw that someone had left 30 minutes on the meter. David wrote a song about how that stranger gave him 30 free minutes, where he didn’t have to worry about the meter. Donny said:

I’ve seen parking meters like that with quarters in them and I don’t stop and write a song about them. That was David’s gift.

I would assume most of us wouldn’t write such a song either. As I’ve been talking with the people who knew David, watching his videos and reading his interviews this week, I’ve been struck by David’s message–much like the people from around the world who send emails, comment to his website and approach David after concerts, always wanting him to know how much he’s made a difference. He’s encouraged them through death, cancer, divorce and other heartaches. And he’s inspired people to live in the moment and to have hope. I’ve been thinking about how many days I just put my head down and try to get through the day. I hope that after writing about David, I will be able to remember his message and to stop taking life for granted.

The story is a hard one to write–there’s so much to say, his loved ones have been so gracious about sharing David’s life and their grief, and there’s quite a bit of pressure. When someone has lived so courageously and unselfishly, you really want to make sure the story comes out right.

Look for the story Monday. In the meantime, here’s a little inspiration from David: