Have you ever taken the test called Strength Finders? If so, I would love to hear what your top two strengths are. One of the things I scored highest on was being FUTURISTIC. Although it's not on the test, in contrast to me, my man is a yesterday celebrator. I spend very little time dwelling on memories. Let's give that a shot here...
If you read my previous post, you would know Bruce has seen many concerts. Unlike him, when I was growing up, my dad, who didn't seem to have a lot of opinions on what I should or shouldn't do, really didn't want me going to concerts. He was a true country fan, so when he took me to see Jerry Jeff Walker in high school with my buddy Gloria or that Willie Nelson concert in college those didn't seem to count (smile). My sweet Daddy died to this world from leukemia when Bruce and I were several weeks pregnant with Josh, who turns 21 this week. It's nice to think about my Father. Maybe this reminiscing thing Bruce does isn't so bad after-all (eyes moist, tender pause, remembering to breathe).
I saw another concert in college, James Taylor, my all time favorite singer. Never mind that it was with some dude that the 20-year-old version of myself thought was the love-of-her-life. Great guy, really. Do you remember that boy that made your heart stop? That same boy that had the potential to also break your 20-year-old heart? Break-ups followed. Later, that same boy pursued you again.....and you had a choice to make. You chose a life with Bruce, because well, there was something about Bruce that made you feel you could really be yourself. And there was something that felt healthier with a boy named Bruce. Soon you're engaged with Bruce. And you were right. It was a good and ultimately phenomenal choice. Whew.....(wipe brow).
Recently, my favorite boyfriend of all time, valentined (I love making up my own words!) me with 3rd row center tickets to see James Taylor in concert after all these years.
James and I are both older now, as you can see. But he still speaks to my soul with his gentle, thoughtful lyrics. And he still has plenty of sass to keep me smiling.
There is clearly value in celebrating the past, being thankful and also learning from it. There is value in pondering the people whom you have loved and who have loved you well. And in forgiving grievances from the past. Forgiving others, when they didn't love you well or forgiving yourself for stupid things you've done. Having grace for the you of your past. And kindness abounding like a blanket over it all for you and others. It doesn't mean you don't learn from it, gain wisdom, or make different decisions about circumstances or relationships....But Grace abounds, right? I sure need it.
Besides our son, Josh, and James Taylor, one of my favorite troubadours is David Wilcox. He has 2 songs on the subject of the past that I think are worth listening to: You should see the way it feels to me & Farthest Shore.
There is certainly value in making bucket lists and being strategic about future hopes and pursuits. Being futuristic has saved my butt and kept me from many harms. It has been wisdom for others and been a great treasure. But I must confess, I have missed many moments of today, as I have attempted to "live" in the next moment, instead of the one I am currently in.
After the James Taylor concert, I downloaded some dusty James Taylor classics to my library. And I'm so cheesy and sentimental that I am playing them now as I type. One tugged at my heart and mind recently. It's an old one. Do you know it?
Secret of Life - James Taylor
(Here are some of the lyrics)
The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time.
Any fool can do it, there ain't nothing to it...
The secret of love is in opening up your heart.
It's okay to feel afraid, but don't let that stand in your way...
Isn't it a lovely ride?...Try not to try too hard, it's just a lovely ride.
I also love David WIlcox's song about seizing the day called Sunshine.
Recently, Our 19 year old daughter, Caroline, read me an excerpt from a book she is enjoying. I have been haunted by one chapter her soothing voice read over me, as I swung in our egg chair on the side porch.
Here is an excerpt from the book:
"I have always, essentially, been waiting. Waiting to become something else, waiting to be that person I always thought I was on the verge of becoming, waiting for that life I thought I would have. In my head, I was always one step away. In high school, I was biding my time until I could become the college version of myself, the one my mind could so clearly see. In college, the post-college “adult” person was always looming in front of me, smarter, stronger, more organized. Then the married person, then the person I’d become when we have kids. For twenty years, literally, I have waited to become the thin version of myself, because that’s when life will really begin.
And through all that waiting, here I am. My life is passing, day by day, and I am waiting for it to start. I am waiting for that time, that person, that event when my life will finally begin.
I love movies about “The Big Moment” – the game or the performance or the wedding day or the record deal, the stories that split time with that key event, and everything is reframed, before it and after it, because it has changed everything. I have always wanted this movie-worthy event, something that will change everything and grab me out of this waiting game into the whirlwind in front of me. I cry and cry at these movies, because I am still waiting for my own big moment. I had visions of life as an adventure, a thing to be celebrated and experienced, but all I was doing was going to work and coming home, and that wasn’t what it looked like in the movies.
John Lennon once said, “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.” For me, life is what was happening while I was busy waiting for my big moment. I was ready for it and believed that the rest of my life would fade into the background, and that my big moment would carry me through life like a lifeboat.
The Big Moment, unfortunately, is an urban myth. Some people have them, in a sense, when they win the Heisman or become the next American Idol. But even that football player or that singer is living a life made up of more than that one moment. Life is a collection of a million, billion moments, tiny little moments and choices, like a handful of luminous, glowing pearls. It takes so much time, and so much work, and those beads and moments are so small, and so much less fabulous and dramatic than the movies.
But this is what I’m finding, in glimpses and flashes: this is it. This is it, in the best possible way. That thing I’m waiting for, that adventure, that movie-score-worthy experience unfolding gracefully. This is it. Normal, daily life ticking by on our streets and sidewalks, in our houses and apartments, in our beds and at our dinner tables, in our dreams and prayers and fights and secrets – this pedestrian life is the most precious thing any of use will ever experience."
- Shauna Niequist
My daddy used to tuck me in bed and read me a story with pictures about a bear named Pooh. Like me, our son, Josh, also found Pooh to be a trusted friend and counselor.
So, I end this post with today's wisdom from a well loved bear.
“What day is it?" said Pooh
"It's today," squeaked Piglet.
"My favorite day," said Pooh.
- A.. Milne