We’re not dark yet

Listening to John Hiatt singing Feels like Rain thinking so of many battered and bruised by life’s travails, sheltered behind barricades that blind, or lead or to miss or lose the love that’s right in front of us. Were trying again, letting love happen, taking that risk, an act of weakness, then why’s it so hard to do?

Listening to what may be the most beautiful version of Hallelujah I’ve ever heard, remembering dreams lost, lives gone, chances lost, thinking God give me strength to accept the possibilities life offers me, and please don’t let my fears lead me astray. Yes, I know it’s hard when some have had other try to end them,  but do we really want to allow those others to pilot our lives from here on out? Not me, not me.

Listen to Springsteen’s Tougher Than the Rest … Toughness (strength),  the capacity to allow life’s experience unabridged by history’s wounds, plans gone wrong, the missteps of ourselves, and others. Finding the strength to love sometimes means going through the fear until the fear can’t hold on; it means going through the rain to reach the sunshine. 

Listening to Marc Cohn’s One Safe Place  I find myself still believing love  can be one safe place. If this makes me a fool, well then, fuck it. So be it.  I say dream on, keep the faith. Don’t give up. We’re not dark yet.

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Not always easy striding

Nothing new in saying life’s terms aren’t always easy striding, but we’re alive and that’s a good thing because without it things might be a bit worse.

Lately days of no money in sight short change possibility and the food supply and, to some extent, the heart and soul supply. For the first time in several tours I won’t be able to see Bruce Springsteen in Albany on the 16th of next month, but the new music is here now and once again he reaches my heart and soul. I suspect it is his allegiance to humanity. In this new album Wrecking Ball he hits the heart of the matter, again and again. The song that now pulls me deep and sends the tears flowing Rocky Ground seems born of the human soul and then some.

Nothing new in saying life’s terms aren’t always easy striding, I’m alive and that’s a good thing from my view cause with the heartbeat things might be a bit worse.

Now the packing of boxes and change on the way, no money or breath for nothing but getting through the day. For some reason these days thoughts of those gone from this life on are my mind, some gone by their own hand, some from sickness, all gone too soon. But still each one breathes full length within me though God almighty what I wouldn’t give to hug them all again and sit with them again and talk with them again, hear their voice, and most of all, most of all tell them how much I love them.

Nothing new in saying life’s terms aren’t always easy striding, but you’re alive and that’s a good thing because were you not there’d be a little less wonder and magic in the world.

Tears From My Heart

Life touches so deeply sometimes the tears come. Not unpleasant and by no means unwanted, but tears born of something deep in my heart being touched, the place where the all of who I am lets me breathe, feel the glory of the sun, the magic of diamonds against the night sky.

I can’t always say or predict what will bring these moments of deep-felt life. I can say all they are driven by the heart and soul of living. This day driving in my car Springsteen sings “Back In Your Arms” and the tears come. So many lost, some gone forever, some out of reach, all still in my heart. There they never die. And I don’t mind the sadness the song provokes because I love the depth of love and breathtaking honesty that drives its purpose. And I love that even when people are gone , or out of reach, I can still love them.

And so, tears from my heart are a good thing. I am alive, and it doesn’t get better than that.

The following clip is from a documentary called “Blood Brothers”, “Blood Brothers” being a song I long ago dedicated to my friend Dane. This clip gives you a glimpse into the making of the song, and powerhouse heart and soul and spirit that went into writing and singing “Back In Your Arms”.

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25 Years Later

Tomorrow marks the 25th anniversary of the day two teenager held me up on a Brooklyn street. One put a gun to my head and fired. He and his accomplice, who was rifling through my pockets when the trigger was pulled, got $63 for their efforts. The bullet is still lodged in the brain and I take great pleasure in feigning disappointment that I do not set off  airport alarms (if you were hoping for a humor free essay you might as well stop reading now).

To this day there are occasions when, upon hearing about the shooting, a person will lean forward, their brow furrowed a bit, and say things like,  "Did it change you?", or, "Is life different?" or, "Do you understand life in a way you didn’t before?" Honest questions all, but I always get the impression that the asker believes being part of an extraordinary act of violence automatically results in a deeper understanding of life. It doesn’t. At least I don’t think it does.

The experience did give me a new appreciation for the importance of ducking. It certainly increased my awareness of the human capacity for cruelty. And, it has helped me to remember to live, not miss the moment I’m in,  and not miss the chance to tell people I love that I love them.

Much has changed in the last 25 years and there is nothing unique in that. Some wonderful things in life have happened as a result of the shooting. I have been given the gift of being able to work with survivors of brain injury, their families and people in the health care field.

The health care field itself exposes you to wonderful people and to people who have a capacity for cruelty that outdoes the cruelty of shooting an innocent person in the head. Health care providers who see and treat people with disabilities as sub-human beings that are on this earth so they can make a profit ought to be jailed. I know one owner of a community-based program who has run clinical meetings for people in the program and doesn’t have one iota of training as a clinician, yet his ego is so distorted and the lack of regulations so prominent, he gets away with it, to the detriment of those receiving services in the program. I know another director of a brain injury program who told the wife of a brain injury survivor, with her husband present, that there needed to be a funeral for her husband because he no longer exists and she and her husband needed to allow this director and his team of sycophants to re-create him. By comparison, the kid who shot me was simply having a bad day.

There is another thing the shooting gave me. An appreciation for having a bucket list, though it wasn’t until the movie came out that I became aware of the term bucket list. I was, however, aware of experiences I wanted  and want to have before my time is up. I want to meet Bruce Springsteen and thank him for the role his songs had in helping me stay alive during some dark times. I’d like to visit the Grand Canyon and spend a week or more exploring the canyon itself. I want to stand in a room that Beethoven was in, and in a room Tolstoy was in, and in a room Dickens was in. I’d even like to get married again some day, really share life with a soul mate. I’d like my daughter and I to have a relationship again before time’s up.  And, of course, I want to write and write and write. The list goes on.

One other thing, I’d like to thank God with all my heart and soul that I am alive 25 years later to even have a bucket list,  and write this essay for you.

 

The Life I’m In

Outside my window thunder and hard rain have their say. Phone calls, emails and friendship warm the morning hours and I’m living the life I’m in.

Folks I know and some I don’t helping my dream of thanking Bruce Springsteen in person come true. And me I’m moved by the kindness and grateful to be breathing the life I’m in.

Some ask, "You okay boy if the dream don’t come true?" and I just smile sayin’ the man helped me stay alive so I can dream in the life I’m in.

Suns rise and suns set and there’s always another summit I’ve never known. I’m living the gift of being on the climb, and the gift of takin’ the next step in the life I’m in.

Some dreams come true and some dreams don’t, but nothin’ needs to take away the love, light and laughter to be found by loving the life you’re in.