So many distractions. So many things clamoring for our attention. Time flies, like the miles on an odometer as you roll down the freeway, the pace of life accelerates. For me, it has accelerated beyond my ability to listen, to hear.
I am fortunate. I have lived to an age where I have freedom of responsibility. When you’re a young parent, you don’t have this freedom. When you’re in school, you don’t have this freedom. When you are punching an 8:00 to 5:00 or 8:00 to 7:00 or 8:00 to 8:30 for someone else, you don’t have this freedom.
I don’t know why, but I’ve been graced with more years than some. Since I don’t have the mental or philosophical capacity to reason why, I will just appreciate the fact that I’m still here. I want to make the days count. I have a heart that aches for something more. I have a voice. I have a heart full of inspiration.
I find inspiration everywhere. I find it in scenes driving down the road. I find it in dilapidated buildings, that caused my mind to wander what was this like in its glory days. I find it in travel of course. I find it in meeting strangers, who really aren’t, from different cultures with whom I have connected through our humanity. I find most of my inspiration in the concept of love. I find inspiration everywhere. But do you know what I often fail to do? Too frequently, I see it and I feel it and I keep right on moving because I am always in such a big damn hurry to get somewhere, all the while missing the point. The moment IS the point.
Hiking, walking, driving, reading, listening to music, experiencing live music, or simply being moved by a magnificent painting, I find it all around me. Specifically, I have found so much inspiration and lyrical content. From poems to song lyrics. Just read these words from The Land of Hope and Dreams, by Bruce Springsteen;
Grab your ticket and your suitcase
Thunder’s rolling down this track
Well you don’t know where you’re goin’ now
But you know you won’t be back
Well darlin’ if you’re weary
Lay your head upon my chest
We’ll take what we can carry
Yeah, and we’ll leave the rest
The art that stirs my soul is art that connects us as humans. It builds bridges and connects us because of what we share. The division in this world, and those who seek to divide, accentuate difference, confuse with nuance, and divide by sorting. Of course, it requires us to be willing lab rats in the experiment. But the world we live in conditions us so effectively, it’s hard to see it happening.
But oh, when we step outside of the petri dish, when we experience a glorious sunrise or sunset. When we listen to another human share their soul through their joy or their pain, we realized very quickly that we are connected through empathy and our shared humanity.
While I don’t know which artist was responsible for which lyrics, Curtis Mayfield or Bruce Springsteen, I’m guessing they both understood the importance of human connection.
“Well, I will provide for you
And I’ll stand by your side
You’ll need a good companion now
For this part of the ride
Yeah, leave behind your sorrows
Let this day be the last
Well, tomorrow there’ll be sunshine
And all this darkness past
Well, big wheels roll through fields where sunlight streams
Oh, meet me in a land of hope and dreams.”
In my heart I’d like to think I’ve been on this train most of my life. But the truth is, I failed to look out the window too often. The harsh reality is, I failed to get off at the last station to explore that part of the world, that moment or chapter of my life.
I’ve been on this train for a long time. The tracks don’t go on forever. There’s no guarantee of how many more stations lie ahead, so I’m going to do the only thing I know how to do right now. I’m going to keep riding. I’m going to keep noticing. I’m going look out the window and take in the glorious wonder that is this world. And should I be graced with arrival at the next station, I’m getting out. I’m going to meet the locals, taste the food, share some story and connect.
Connection is my why. It always has been. It feeds my soul. And I will be damned if I understand what caused me to forsake it for large periods of my life. Yet, I am here, writing this, so there is still time. Oh, meet me in a land of hope and dreams!