Dolly Parton knows her gifts are blessings, and uses them to help others

Published 2:27 pm Tuesday, December 27, 2022

BY LYNN WALKER GENDUSA
On a cold January day in 1946, their fourth child, a girl, was born in a one-room cabin in the hills of Tennessee. More babies arrived in the following years, and the parents had little to offer their 12 children except for music, love and faith.
When the spirited girl with dimpled cheeks walked to school in her hand-sewn clothes and dusty shoes, she would often be teased and mocked because she was poor. But even though she was tiny, she stood proudly tall.
God must have looked down on the mountain child and given her a spirit of courage and love that would eventually change countless lives. The Lord continued walking with Dolly Parton, blessing her with a song in her heart and gratitude in her soul.
Dolly Parton knows her gifts are blessings and uses them to bless others.
I was asked years ago, “Who would you invite to dinner if you could ask anyone living in the world today?”
“Well, I guess if Jesus isn’t available, it would be Dolly Parton,” I replied.
I had left Tennessee when Dolly began singing with Porter Wagner, but I remember catching a glimpse of her on television. At the time, I didn’t love country music even though I came from the land where the Grand Ole Opry is revered. It wasn’t the music that sparked my interest in her; it was something more. It was something I understood without understanding why.
It could be because I sound like Dolly, with the same Tennessee mountain twang that must form in the blood. One cannot change it, and I have often said it would be an insult to my ancestors if I did. Because we are nearly the same age, I have watched Dolly from afar grow from a little mountain girl to owning the mountain!
Dolly Parton knows her gifts are blessings and uses them to bless others.
So Robert and Avie Lee Parton’s girl became an icon, a movie star, a bigger-than-life presence, a builder of dreams, a singer/songwriter, an aunt, a sister, a wife and a faithful steward of God.
Dolly Parton is one of those rare folks who doesn’t let fame inflate her ego or allow money to empower her unless it is through philanthropy. She understands her gifts are blessings and knows how to use them to bless others.
Dolly Parton knows her gifts are blessings and uses them to bless othersThese types of people don’t spread gossip, shout, belittle or shame anyone, because they understand they are living only for a while. They know they will go home where Mom and Dad are waiting and the light shines eternal. People like Dolly are brilliant enough to know it is not what you make of yourself on earth; it is what you give of yourself to all.
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos recently awarded Dolly Parton his “Courage and Civility Award,” presenting her with $100 million. Why would he give so much to someone who has so much? He understands that a big heart will use gifts wisely, and a humble spirit will fly miles spreading compassion, kindness and hope. She has proven her worth by the value of her soul.
If you want to learn about leadership and charity, don’t look much further than a tiny Tennessee woman who sends books to the children of Appalachia. She aims to whip illiteracy and open doors for impoverished children to become rich in knowledge. When fires rage, tornadoes or floods ravage or diseases need cures, she is there with a pen and a checkbook, a song and a loud voice.
Dolly laughs at herself and never at others. She treats everyone with respect and knows the heartache and scars folks carry when others are made to feel less than.
No, we need to look no further than the Partons’ fourth child, who thankfully listened to her parents and believed God was the only way to greatness.
Politics, policies, and trends change like the wind, but goodness and benevolence never will because God never changes.
With her infectious smile, Dolly humorously said, “It costs me a lot of money to look this cheap!”
Dolly Rebecca Parton also proclaimed, “If your actions create a legacy that inspires others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, then you are an excellent leader.
And, the Lord still leads her down the mountain path toward home.
(Lynn Walker Gendusa is a writer and author of the book “Southern Comfort.”…Reprinted from The Tennessean.)

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