Have you found it yet? That reason you are alive? Or what gives your life meaning?
Many peculiarly never do. I’ve a few lines for you . . . Lines from a Jackson Browne song. It’s my # 1 favorite song … because, for me, it’s one of those universals; I suspect, it says something different to everyone.
What it says to me was so impactful, I named my youngest after him.
I’d been so much a failure at being a father it broke my heart to look back over my life of awful mistakes – – like when you’ve loved your own children so much it’s hard to go on, but somehow you do, minute by minute, day by day, wishing you could go back and do things over – not make so many critical mistakes- role modeling so many things so badly … grieving so heavily it’s near impossible to continue on.
I did, obviously. One of my children died; my oldest? — he’s, somehow, in spite of me, grown into a wonderfully good man! Nothing for me to be proud of there – he did it all himself! My youngest? I made fewer mistakes with him but it too was his doing; he too is someone a father bursts buttons over.
“For a Dancer” speaks of all the important things, to me. Following, are the lyrics.
Jackson was speaking of one thing; I was hearing what’s become prominent in my own life! His lyrics in this song were so meaningful to me, I named my youngest, his middle name . . . “Jackson”. Telling him why, is only a small part of this missive.
I have this imagination… let’s see if I can put it into words for you . .. .. . … what always flashes before me ……
At that moment of our passing-over, when it’s said that – our whole life passes in front of our eyes – we are somehow catapulted to that end moment when Christ appears, riding his steed, in the clouds, on the day of the end – that moment when it’s all over … when it’s too late … and we’re all headed to the judgment seat – when we all die, at once – the very same instant. That’s the same instant everyone alive, sees, as they die.
Silly? Possibly. Unscriptural? Probably … but that’s what I see … what I imagine. It’s what I imagine every rider on a train sees – as the train plunges into the abyss after the bridge has been found too late, to have failed.
“Keep a fire burning in your eye
Pay attention to the open sky
You never know what will be coming down
I don’t remember losing track of you
You were always dancing in and out of view
I must’ve always thought you’d be around
Always keeping things real by playing the clown
Now you’re nowhere to be found
I don’t know what happens when people die
Can’t seem to grasp it as hard as I try
It’s like a song playing right in my ear
That I can’t sing
I can’t help listening
I can’t help feeling stupid standing ’round
Crying as they ease you down
Cause I know that you’d rather we were dancing
Dancing our sorrow away
(Right on dancing)
No matter what fate chooses to play
(There’s nothing you can do about it anyway)
Just do the steps that you’ve been shown
By everyone you’ve ever known
Until the dance becomes your very own
No matter how close to yours another’s steps have grown
In the end there is one dance you’ll do alone
Keep a fire for the human race
And let your prayers go drifting into space
You never know will be coming down
Perhaps a better world is drawing near
And just as easily, it could all disappear
Along with whatever meaning you might have found
Don’t let the uncertainty turn you around
(The world keeps turning around and around)
Go on and make a joyful sound
Into a dancer you have grown
From a seed somebody else has thrown
Go on ahead and throw some seeds of your own
And somewhere between the time you arrive and the time you go
May lie a reason you were alive but you’ll never know.”
~. ~ ~
My mother was grieving in her last days, 20-some years ago, and in her desire to pass on – (go home) she asked me “why does He not take me home now? Why do I linger so?” I answered her, wondering myself, as I heard myself speak – – just as if I knew, “to allow me to help care for you! I need that blessing.”
Now, with my suffering with ALS (Lou Geherig’s disease) I’m in my mom’s role. Now, my beloved evidently needs somehow to helplessly observe my mental suffering as I move ever so slowly towards my passing. Now, I grieve . . . For her and for my 2 boys and my close friends who also watch helplessly . . . and grieve.
Maybe this (knowing I know their love for me and mine, for them …) maybe it will help. I pray it does! It’s helping me already …