Fanfare for the Common Man is a brilliant composition by Aaron Copland, written initially to honor the contribution of WWII soldiers. However, I was thinking of the sentiment today when my adult nephew (with learning challenges) expressed his frustration about being a nobody.
Many of us can relate to the pain of feeling “too common.”
What I wanted to convey to him is best summed up by Naomi Nye. The end of the poem, Famous, captured it…
I have found so much peace in the simple act of handing over my small contribution to the Universe, asking that it be multiplied to feed whatever need exists versus fretting about whether the world notices me or not.
This is when Fanfare for the Common Man plays in my head.
Long my imprisoned spirit lay
Fast bound in fear and nature’s night
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray (what the heck?)
I woke. The dungeon flamed with light
My chains fell off and my heart was free
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee
These are words to a powerful, ancient song by John Wesley. Many of us can relate to the imprisoned spirit and dungeon parts. But, this morning, I thought for the first time about the very strange “eye diffusing a quickening ray” line and (from personal experience) translated it as…You focused a laser of life-giving power directly upon me and, in a millisecond, I was free…
So, if today I need freedom (miracles, hope, direction, wisdom, forgiveness, power), can it be that the laser of life-giving power might focus on me, one more time?
10. He was uniquely weird.
9. We both loved Gilda Radner and Ella Fitzgerald.
8. He was a human and he owned it.
7. He played well with others (most of the time).
6. He did nice things for people.
5. He did his work with reckless abandon.
4. He was outrageous.
3. He was passionate.
2. He was real.
1. He was real funny.
Not a bad list for anyone to emulate.
Courage whispers, “Try.”
This was the name of a Word Press blog site. Just reading the title inspired me as much as Pink’s song lyric, Gotta get up and try and try and try, and Fun’s Carry On.
All are antidotes to the What’s-the-Use? mantra that plays over and over inside my head, very loud…
- after I’ve failed at something
- when I don’t know what to do to fix a relationship
- when something doesn’t work out as planned
- when I’m tired or overwhelmed
So, today, tomorrow, and this week…I’m gonna listen to Courage’s whisper instead of Fear’s bullying.
Soon Courage will laugh out loud and Fear will retire with a whimper…unnoticed.
Sometimes, I’ve wandered half awake through my life with the dirty cloud of doubt above my head when a song could have revived me, but I forgot to turn it on and let it dance me around. Other times it was music from a memory, a book, or a tiny little poem that I forgot to read.
When I can’t rock or shake a mood, something else might be able to do it for me. But, if I don’t get up, break the spell, and try, I’ll never know.
Light causes pain when:
- we are exposed to, and unprepared for brightness or…
- when the light magnifies things we couldn’t see in dim light, such as…
- the wrong color of socks or shoes we put on
- cleaning that needs to be done
- issues we are trying to hide or camouflage
- things we are trying to forget
After we wince, we can choose to…
- prepare for or ignore the damage
- adjust or hope no one notices
- clean up or wait until dark for relief
- be vulnerable or continue the charade
- use the light or curse it
Those who have to follow us or to live in our wake, would greatly prefer that we prepared for, adjusted to, and/or used the light versus the alternative approaches.
To make a person’s story compelling to an audience, screenwriters use a technique to hook us in — they show us how the character is like us, a vulnerability, a scar. a selfless action, or maybe how a disappointment makes them feel worthless. Without this glimpse into the character’s soul, why would we care about them?
I was thinking this morning that if we used this technique in our own “dramas,” we would forgive each other faster.
It’s not difficult to do. It just takes a little gentle thinking about someone (a soundtrack helps), maybe about their past, maybe about the origin of their pain.
We all need healing.
Life is tough. Be tougher.
Accept responsibility. Change what you can. Make amends.
Or, there is always the fallback… just “Shut up and dance with me.” -Walk the Moon
I love this song because of the over-simplification. But also because I imagine life saying this to me when I feel like griping, complaining, or whining.
Shut up and dance with me.
One of my favorite songs is “One Headlight” by the Wallflowers…
Hey, come on try a little
Nothing is forever
There’s got to be something better than
In the middle
But me & Cinderella
We put it all together
We can drive it home
With one headlight
I like it so much because my spirit relates to the admonition to “come on try a little” when I feel like giving up. Me and Cinderella (hope beyond hope) can make it work and drive it home with “one headlight” (even with the significant deficits that I might have).
There is something better than in the middle for all of us.
Read the story behind the song at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One_Headlight
The stories of our lives seem so much more interesting when a soundtrack is behind the images. Unless we have a biographer, no one (but us) is responsible for adding the score.
If I am depressed I will sing.
If I am bored I will find an artist who will sing to me about meaning.
If I am tired I will find a ballad about surviving against the odds.
If I feel unloved I will listen to the rhythm of my heart, or the whistling birds, or the sound of a million leaves, nourished by ugly roots, rustling in the howling wind.
And, if I am wounded I will play a song that asks me to dance.