Put us on this reservation
Took away our ways of life...John Loudermilk (Paul Revere and the Raiders)
I have always talked with you or at least since my late teens and young adulthood on New Years Eve. I think I started in my early twenties going out and just walking with you. It's been hard in recent times to make the annual excursion into the woods. I still remember going to Noccalula Falls in Gadsden, Alabama (city of my birth) and walking around Black Creek and praying and meditating. I had felt like as a young teenager that I was "displaced by divorce" and Noccalula Falls was my way of going back home and reconnecting.
I have even been able to bring in the New Year in Hawaii on the North Shore so it's always been a special time for me to think about life and try to get perspective. Some years are easier than others to get in the mood and to take stock of life.
This New Years eve I haven't been able to really gather and make that one big "just me and God hangin out" thing happen. I got up early and went to my favorite coffee shop. I had coffee, breakfast and then was pulling into a local park to walk along the hiking trail and had to hit my brakes. The park was closed and the entrance blocked by a metal gate. Oh well, no problem I would just meditate in my own back yard. My wife went to the store and my son was safely in front of a video game so out back I went.
Just couldn't get into it. It was cold and wet and I just couldn't seem to concentrate. So, I decided to wait and put in my ear buds and do a quiet meditation tonight. So, I quietly go into the bedroom and pull up a little meditation program on youtube ( Ain't technology grand?) My plan was to relax my mind and then to be able to talk to God in the quiet and maybe work on the grand scheme of life. I got to the part where the narrator said "Close your eyes."
I woke up after an hour or so and put on my glasses and announced to Cindy that I had fallen asleep. To which she seemed not surprised at all. :-0
I'm not much on religion these days. You outgrew the box I had comfortably placed you in a long time ago.
Is there anybody in there?
Just nod if you can hear me.
Is there anyone at home?....Pink Floyd
But, you just didn't seem to be ready to perform on cue. I looked to authority, the people who could tell me what I needed to know to get you back in the box. After all, I needed you to make sure I had all the stuff I needed.
When I was a child
I caught a fleeting glimpse
Out of the corner of my eye
I turned to look but it was gone
I cannot put my finger on it now
The child is grown
The dream is gone
I have become comfortably numb......Pink Floyd
Except now I'm older and I don't think the dream is gone. I think I need to wake up from the dream.
A dream as the thunder wakes her
And her highwayman disappears
On a life already lived before
In eyes welled with tears...Stevie Nicks
So now what do I do and how do I get you to send me a sign that my new year will bring me all the stuff I need. Favor with my employer and money for my bills and toys to distract me when I notice the lines on my face in the mirror?
There were lines on the mirror, lines on her face
She pretended not to notice, she was caught up
in the race.....Eagles "Life in the Fast Lane"
Now those kind of lines (except for the ones on my face) are not my problem as I get older. I don't drink except for the occasional toast of wine on special occasions or a beer (Irish Guiness for my little Celtic soul on my birthday) and Columbian means good coffee to me these days.But, I still have my "distractions" to get me whistling past the grave yard.
I can peruse the internet and I admit that I do find the whole "flow of information" thing to be addicting. I constantly check my phone and I love having news and sports scores and stories at my fingertips. But, I don't know if I haven't lost some listening skills and the ability to think a little deeper about things.
We drank a toast to innocence
We drank a toast to now
And tried to reach beyond the emptiness
But neither one knew how...Same Old Lang Syne...Dan Fogleberg
So, I try to listen and I even find myself "liking" inspirational post on facebook. Trying to assure myself that I haven't completely lost the thread of my youthful religion and faith. That I can make it all OK if I can just get the attention of God.
Did you write the book of love
And do you have faith in God above
If the Bible tells you so?
Now do you believe in rock and roll?
Can music save your mortal soul?
And can you teach me how to dance real slow?....American Pie (Don Mclean)
So, here I am again. A little more life worn and a little less sure of a one size fits all or theory of everything. But, still here and still honestly sure that I'm talking to you and not simply talking to myself. I no longer expect burning bushes or to get knocked off my donkey and told the secrets of life. But, I do remember one time when I actually did "know" I was under the protection of an Angel. But, that's one of those things that are between me and you and I go back to it from time to time when I'm feeling especially disconnected.
Hello, it's me
I've thought about us for a long, long time
Maybe I think too much but something's wrong
There's something here that doesn't last too long
Maybe I shouldn't think of you as mine...Todd Rundgren
Yep, it's me again and you just don't seem to fit in my little box anymore. I don't think I can define you anymore. But, on the other hand letting go and just "being her now" Yeah I know sounds a little new agey ;-) But just being (to me) seems better than an absolute claim of knowing these days.
I remember being in General Forrest Junior High (yeah, we called it junior high in those days) in the gym. I saw a childhood friend from the old elementary school across the way. She was always one of those people that I would see from time to time in my life and even the passage of years didn't seem to make us strangers. Not lovers and not in a relationship. Just souls that seemed to recognize each other whenever we met. Since it's New Years I am remembering things tonight. I remember the song that was playing and the lyrics that day in the gym
Looking out from my lonely room, day after day
Bring it home, baby, make it soon
I give my love to you.....BadFinger
Funny how songs seem to define times in our lives. I play the guitar and I love music but I'm not one of those people that like to have music on all the time. But, when I do hear or play certain songs the times and places rush back to me.
Give me the beat boys and free my soul
I wanna get lost in your rock and roll and drift away
Give me the beat boys and free my soul
I wanna get lost in your rock and roll and drift away...Dobie Gray
So, this hasn't been the new year prayer that I wanted. But, it's been the one you have given me and shared with me so I'm good. ;-)
I hope to be able to "hear" you this year a little clearer. I hope to enjoy health and to be able to enjoy life and family and put work and even memory in the right order and place. I pray for the ability to see and experience every day as it's own special "Now." I pray not to wait for tomorrow to live. Thank you for this moment. Thank you for life.
I dreamed of a river once. Been a long time now but I still remember the dream. I was standing there and I heard "You have to go in." I didn't want to go in. I knew if I went in that I would die. At least I was afraid that I would. But, it seemed to be something I really had to do. So, I finally plunged in. It was so cold. But, I felt so incredible. My spirit seemed to soar even as my body was freezing and maybe even dying.
On Jordan's Stormy Banks I stand, and cast a wishful eye....Samuel Stennett
So, I will continue this journey with you until I reach that river. Not that I am trying to reach it this year. ;-) But, I think it will be like the dream. I'll be upon it and it will be time and it will be OK. But, for now I want to be in the moment and enjoy the journey.
Now, that I sneaked a hymn into my Rock and Roll I thought I'd end with a toast:
To my grandparents who raised me and have made it to the other side. To my aunt and uncle and cousins and brother in law. To a classmate from long ago in Alabama City. She had on a Mickey Mouse watch one day and I heard years later that she had passed. I will have to tell her that I thought she was really cute but I was a little too shy back in the day. To my friend who went way to soon that painted murals a long time ago in Altoona. To my classmates from West End who I remember as "good people." To a special friend "My girl" No, not my girlfriend and not my lover either. But, we will raise a toast to kindness yet. To that great cloud of witnesses.
Also, to those who are still my companions on my journey. Cindy who puts up with me and I guess as old married people we put up with each other. To my son Fox who is so much smarter than I ever was. I hope he finds the thread of his journey and his way of talking to you and listening. To my mother who had me when she was young and even though we have had some storms (still do at times.) ;-) she has been a inspiration in a hard headed get up and move on way for me. To friends from my youth that I still journey with and to friends that are newer but are like "old souls" when we meet. To R.J. who is a brother and no longer able (in this world) to have talks and tell jokes. I miss you jerk and I will be able to tell you that one day.
To my sister Tammy: I'm so sorry and I know he was everything to you. He just went across the river a little early. No words will take away the sting. Take your time because we all have a day to experience and you have grandchildren to love and fuss with for a little longer. ;-)
OK, I think that's my new years "walk" this time. I started in 2014 and it's already over an hour into 2015. I can't put you back in that box. So, I'll just hold on to your hand and presence and continue this walk into a New Year.
Joel 2:25: I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten.
I believe that. Just across the river.