When I was about thirteen or fourteen years old, I developed a clear vision of what I wanted to do with my life. However, what I could not see was what God had planned for my life.
When I graduated from Dresden High School, I embarked upon my path of becoming a high school music teacher. While in the middle of my junior year of college at UTM I was hired to be a part-time music teacher at Dresden High School. For nine years I directed the choral program, eventually completing my B.S. in Education, and was hired full time, adding the subject of English to my list of teaching responsibilities.
I loved teaching high school. But I was young and idealistic and when I began to see how politics played a role in treating teachers like marionettes on a string, I became disillusioned. It was out of that disillusionment that God brought me to my first career crossroad.
My wife and I had started attending a vibrant and friendly church in McKenzie, and while there we learned they were looking to hire a full time youth and family minister. Once we decided this would be a good fit for us, I interviewed for the job and got it. I said a tearful goodbye to the members of the Dresden High School chorus and threw myself into church work.
I labored with that church family for fifteen years, thoroughly enjoying it. But there began to be a nagging, quiet whisper in my mind, which I now see as God’s Spirit, that I should be taking my life in a different but related direction. I couldn’t see my body holding up to the rigors of working with young people and began thinking about what I would like to do long term. After talking with several trusted friends I decided that becoming a counselor would be something I would enjoy. I went back to school and graduated at the age of forty-nine with a Master’s Degree in Social Work.
It was while working as a Marriage and Family therapist that God once again stepped into my life and placed a proverbial “burning bush” alongside the road I was traveling. I received a phone call from one of my former chorus members at Dresden High School. She asked if I would be interested in directing a group of my former student for a concert at a high school alumni reunion in Dresden. I eagerly accepted the invitation. The best word to describe that experience of working with those people who I hadn’t seen for twenty years is “magical.”
It was so much fun for all of us that we decided to keep singing together, and thus was born The David Johnson Chorus. That was seventeen years ago, and we are still singing today – thirty-six voices strong. The chorus now includes people from all over northwest Tennessee and western Kentucky. We have performed in Washington, D.C. at Walter Reed Army Hospital, the Lincoln Memorial, and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. We regularly sing at The Biltmore House in Asheville, North Carolina, and at many towns across northwest Tennessee. But our favorite places to perform are the children’s hospitals and the VA hospitals where we try to lighten the spirits of the patients, their families, and the amazing staff of the hospitals.
In 2008 God led me to take an online writing course. I thought it would lead to me writing articles for journals and magazines that would help strengthen marriages and families. The key phrase in that statement is “I thought.” What really happened though was the writing of a long short story about a woman named Tucker, who was a grandmother raising her grandchildren while living in abject poverty in the 1970’s. That long short story was the seed that grew into a series of books that I self-published and which sold 200,000 copies. That caught the attention of an editor at Amazon who offered me a contract, which I accepted. Since being with Amazon the Tucker series has been featured as one of their top-selling books (out of the millions that are offered on Amazon).
Currently I am working on another book that Amazon has already bought the rights to and have sketched an outline for my next book. This success I’ve achieved is the direct result of God’s hand working in my life. He has blessed me with gifts and talents well beyond what I deserve, and I thank him daily.