Bird Droppings November 4, 2011
2.7 seconds on a bull named Fu Manchu
I began the day thinking back to a song one of my students chose to write about several years ago, Live like you were dying by Tim McGraw. The assignment was to pick a favorite song and find the lyrics then explain the song. There is something about country music and lyrics and emotions that really does hit you. I find it sad far too many get lost in the ethnic jargon of country or rap or hip-hop and miss the lyrics what the artist was really trying to say. It was humorous to me since most of the day yesterday I was humming or singing a Neil Young song and I have always been a Neil Young fan. However I got up this morning thinking country. Amazing as I think back how with the various music genre that came forth on my lyrics assignment that one song stood out among all the rest that day. Maybe it is old age sinking in. Maybe it was the email of a friend recently for my birthday reminding me of our mortality as he is a cancer survivor. Although he also added I was stuck with him for a while yet maybe another forty or so years.
“You have to do what you love to do, not get stuck in that comfort zone of a regular job. Life is not a dress rehearsal. This is it.” Lucinda Basset
“Life is raw material. We are artisans. We can sculpt our existence into something beautiful, or debase it into ugliness. It’s in our hands.” Cathy Better
Searching for words midst a deluge of thought I got caught up in Tim McGraw’s words from that assignment so many years back. It is actually a rather interesting song. The main line from the song is what sinks in to your heart.
“I hope you get the chance, to live like you were dying. Like tomorrow was a gift and you got eternity to think about” Tim McGraw
We take life so often for granted, wasting precious moments, missing bits and pieces as we go hurriedly to the next event of the day. So many of the teenagers I meet are living one moment to the next not savoring and getting the most simply there, whatever and it is gone. Whatever tends to be the catch term for teenage vernacular as well sadly.
“Life consists not in holding good cards but in playing those you hold well.” Josh Billings
“It is not how many years we live, but rather what we do with them.” Evangeline Cory Booth
“I went Rocky Mountain climbing I went 2.7 seconds on a bull named Fu Manchu and then I loved deeper and I spoke sweeter and I watched an eagle as it was flying and he said someday I hope you get the chance to live like you were dying.” Tim McGraw
This morning I walked out as I do so many mornings early in the day, to my left clearing the pines a several large stars gleaming and glistening in the black of the night. The many thousands of smaller stars added to the effect and surrounding me that silence of a country morning when the great chorus of crickets and tree frogs was silent due to the chill only a handful along the edge of the house were chirping but still powerful in the total setting, it was literally over whelming. I have yet to figure how crickets in our neighborhood can harmonize especially when cold.
“The essential conditions of everything you do must be choice, love, and passion.” Nadia Boulanger
“On life’s journey faith is nourishment, virtuous deeds are a shelter, wisdom is the light by day and right mindfulness is the protection by night. If a man lives a pure life, nothing can destroy him.” Buddha
We each search and try to find the pathway that is best for us as we journey through life. How and why we go the direction we do is our choice and the attitude that we have again is our choice. As I am reading again the words from Tom McGraw’s song and reading a teenagers response it is most interesting, living each day to the fullest is not just about riding a bull named Fu Manchu for 2.7 seconds or climbing in the Rockies. It is more about loving deeper and speaking sweeter, it is the moments not the events, it is extracting as much as possible and giving as much as possible in each second of each day. If only we could do this on a regular basis as a part of our existence imagine what changes would occur.
“I was finally the husband that most the time I wasn’t and I became a friend a friend would like to have” Tim McGraw
It was again as I was thinking back in a few years and another incident struck me, my middle son had called from school and sounded upset there was uneasiness in his voice. A female student had killed herself in the dorm; several of his friends were peer leaders on that hall. In another situation I was informed two students I have been talking with and counseling with for three years were both pregnant distant events to each other yet encompassing in its own, a life ended and new lives starting. One of the girls came by to tell me personally shortly after I had heard rumors.
“The tragedy of life is not so much what men suffer, but rather what they miss.” Thomas Carlyle
“What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.” Crowfoot
It has been many years since I would walk out into the pastures at night and hear the snorting of our buffalo. It is so hard to explain seeing a bull buffalo’s breath blowing across the grass in the wee hours of the morning on a cool day, or watching fireflies skirt the kudzu and sumac of our back yard. Going back to a young lady taking her own life, she had a plan with a stopping point I wonder if she lived as if she were dying or was she dying so she could live? What a paradox we set in motion as we journey each day.
“Life is infinitely stranger than anything which the mind of man could invent. We would not dare to conceive the things which are really merely commonplaces of existence. If we could fly out of that window hand in hand, hover over this great city, gently remove the roofs and peep in at the queer things which are going on, the strange coincidences, the planning, the cross-purposes, the wonderful chain of events, working through generations and leading to the most outer results, it would make all fiction with its conventionalities and foreseen conclusions most stale and unprofitable.” Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
“I asked him when it sank in that this might really be the real end how’s it hit you when you get that kinda news man what’d you do…….live like you were dying. Like tomorrow was a gift and you got eternity to think about what’d you do with it what did you do with it” Tim McGraw
I won’t be riding bulls or skydiving but I will be smiling and I will love and I will be living each moment that I have got. So my dear friends take a moment and truly think about it, live your moments to the fullest, love deeper, love sweeter and please keep all in harm’s way on your minds and in your hearts.