Over the past several months, I have gotten some comments from friends about the sparsity of my blogging. For much of that time, I was working long hours on my job, which was what I needed to do to take care of my family. Once I had more time, I found my inspiration for writing had left me in favor of working more on music, which was fine with me. Today I’m writing out a few connected thoughts that have been circling around in my head for the past few days.
I will start with a minor rant and then a disclaimer. I often get fatigued at reading people’s writings about “life”. You know, “life is this” or “life is that”. I get that they are often working out their own thoughts in a public forum, but I can’t help feeling a bit like I’m getting preached at. To those people, thank you for sharing your thoughts, but please don’t be offended if I don’t always agree with them. Some are far too personal and too specific to be universal. That’s ok. Today I’m going to share a couple of my thoughts on the subject, and I don’t expect everyone to agree with them. Whether you find my thoughts encouraging or discouraging is up to you.
Don’t laugh, but I have discovered over the years that my philosophy is best summed up in the amalgamation of two great philosophical powerhouses, Forest Gump, and The Rolling Stones.
Everyone of a certain age probably remembers the famous line from Forest Gump. “My momma says life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get.” In somewhat different language, John Lennon wrote the same thing. “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” To my way of thinking, both of these thoughts express the same sentiment. It’s good to dream and make plans, but I believe it’s important to know that not all dreams are meant to come true. That doesn’t mean they have no purpose. Our dreams are meant to draw us forward and encourage us to seek the things our hearts desire. That is a good thing. Every kid who dreamed of being a famous athlete or musician knows that those dreams are rare and elusive, but they can spur us to be the best we can be in this moment, and that’s what really counts. Doing your best, day by day, is ultimately more important than whether the dream that inspires you comes true or not. Many unexpected events are going to come to pass. Some good, some bad. Disappointment, and how you deal with it, is also a very important part of the process. Is there anyone alive who hasn’t suffered disappointment, heartache and loss? It’s all part of the big picture, and it’s how you respond that matters.
On to The Stones. Who doesn’t know the line, “You can’t always get what you want…but you get what you need.”? (I’m parapharasing a bit) In conjuction with the previous thought, I don’t believe we were created to get everything we want. If we did, we would be a species of spoiled brats. I definietely do not believe that our ultimate happiness and comfort is God’s highest purpose for us on earth. Sorry. I guess this proves, once and for all, that I’m not secretly Joel Osteen. In global terms, we Americans are a very spoiled bunch, and many of us expect to get what we want. How different that makes us from much of the rest of the world, where people are content to be fed, sheltered, and have clean water, and many don’t even have that. I’m learning to be content with getting what I need. God has always provided that, even when many of the things I wanted stayed just out of reach. That doesn’t change wanting them at all, by the way, but the truth is a lot of things you want don’t turn out to be all they were cracked up to be once you actually have them. Sometimes the blessing is in not getting what you think you really want.
Merry Christmas, and peace be with you. May God give you all that you need in the coming year.