Johnny Cash University

This morning, in my meditation, I listened to the soundtrack of Johnny Cash’s story, Walk the Line. Never a country music fan, I am surprised that the movie was so inspiring and that the lessons in his story still brought a big smile to my soul.

A few of the lessons I learned from Walk the Line (Johnny Cash University):

  • childhoods are filled with tragic loses that are sometimes very difficult to unearth and process
  • our untutored coping methods are usually destructive
  • messy lives still tell the truth
  • if we sing the song no one else is singing we will bring hope to others
  • hang on ’til the end

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Harry and Snowman

“Don’t trot, but gallop to see this movie…” the critics said.

I saw it on an American Airlines flight and so glad I did. And so glad it is available on YouTube and Netflix.

Watch it only if you want to be reminded that everything counts, that life happens for us not to us, that flat tires are part of a bigger plan, that those who are kind to animals win, that horses are more than horses, and that miracles happen.

On so many levels, this movie gives hope; hope that there is meaning behind our existence and that horrible tragedy can transform into strength and yield good for our future and for others.

I Thought I Needed Martians

I can so relate to this quote from the author of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. Into my teens, I frequently sat out in the woods hoping and waiting for Martians to take me away. I did this for two reasons:

  • I was bored with my life
  • I thought I must be an alien because I was so very different from (and inferior to) my peers

But, the Martians never came.

Instead, I was forced to grow up–and into an appreciation for my life.
It took a while, but today, I can marvel at the miracle of:

  • me
  • sunlight
  • living things all around me
  • mistakes that turn into miracles
  • and the countless other humans who feel so much like I did

(originally posted Feb 2014)

Will You Hear It?

Today, I found encouragement in the messages of The Glass Castle movie (in theaters August 11, 2017).

The message that we don’t have to be ashamed of those things over which we had no control.

The message that there is hope for kids and employees and spouses who are under the thumb of crazies.

The message not to give up on the escape plan.

The message that there are essential things to love about everyone.

The message that we can survive (and somehow thrive under) radical pain and confusion.

The message that all of our stories hold much more mystery than we ever dreamed.

 

The Crazy Truth

I hold these truths to be self-evident (and freeing):

1. None of us are normal.

2. All of us are more screwed-up than we realize.

3. It’s okay to be a work-in-progress. (Embrace criticism.)

4. We make things worse by pretending to be normal and projecting blame and shame on everyone else.

5. Delighting in each other (and ourselves) in spite of the crazy is the way out of self-inflicted torture.

6. “The only way to beat my crazy was by doing something even crazier.”  (from Silver Lining Playbook) Translation: By focusing fanatically on a larger goal and larger world outside of my suffocating angst, I overcame it.

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Accept it and laugh on.

About Time

If you haven’t seen this delightful 2013 movie About Time, it is a refreshing reminder to relish life, one ordinary day at a time. If you don’t want to see the movie, or feel like your life is too ordinary to get excited about, try this:

  • Look out your window as if you were on vacation, traveling to your city and your neighborhood for the very first time
  • See your family and friends as if for the first time
  • Forget about what you want them to do differently and delight in them just as they are

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Stay tune for great joy. And…it’s about time!

Shantaram, Shaken, and Surprised

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This is one of the major themes of Gregory David Robert’s experience as portrayed in the book (soon to be movie), Shantaram. Also in Tim Tebow’s book, Shaken. Although, one book deals with the dark realities of life and the other, mostly with those of a fallen football player, the lesson is the same; losing is often the win we need for the long-haul. Accept the pain of losing as it comes, and our character development and re-direction will have countless beneficiaries.

I was pleasantly surprised with that reality recently when my challenged nephew was invited to an event sponsored by Tim Tebow’s ministries; ministries that would not exist if Tim Tebow had not been kicked off of three NFL teams.

Just One More

The most moving moment in the movie Hacksaw Ridge was the prayer for “just one more” from the medic who needed the strength to rescue just one more of the seventy-five wounded soldiers he saved on Hacksaw Ridge during World War II. I thought of that resolve and request for strength today when I was facing my weensy little tasks and feeling the lack of motivation and energy.

So when I am overwhelmed by the prospect of making it through a “difficult” day, the answer lies in simply making it through the next step, not the whole frickin list.

Just this one breath. Just this one task.

“Just one more,” seventy-four times, saved seventy-five lives in impossible circumstances.

Whether we know it or not, our willingness to persevere will always make a difference for others.

Get-Real Inventory

In the movie Blast from the Past, Brenden Frazer’s character comes out of the bunker he has lived in for thirty years and just stares with awe at the sky. Everyone around thinks he’s crazy…except a small child.

I included the link, just in case you need a laugh and want to feel marvelous.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Z3N3KquVJY

In this blog, I try not to waste your time with platitudes about gratitude. But, I wouldn’t mind if you felt just a little guilt after reading the following quote by a blind/deaf/mute woman:

helen-keller

Do an inventory. Get real.

Make other people feel marvelous.

Where Did It Go?

Right before my sister’s body convulsed in the terrible grip of death, I received a gift from her learning-challenged son. He had been with me at her hospice bedside saying goodbye. After asking his mother to say hello to Elvis for him in heaven (which even garnered a wisp of a smile from her solemn, sedated face), he gave me his mother’s hand and said, “She’s gone. God took her with Him. Couldn’t you feel God here in the room?”

His confidence that she was no longer in that body has saved me from reliving the strange savagery of her end…over and over again.

I was reminded of this mystery of our souls’ departure by Temple Grandin’s story of Autism and her sensitivity to the death of animals. When the body of a euthanized horse collapsed, limp and empty, she asked about the spirit, “Where did it go?” 

Also in Elizabeth J. Church’s words about the heroin’s father’s death in The Atomic Weight of Love: “Where did all of that energy go? What happened to the bounty of his being, his love for us, for me?”

It’s an important observance and question. Those who see a bit differently often see more than the rest of us.

 

 

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