Thursday, July 29, 2010

Past and Present

I am sitting here watching a public television broadcast fundraising drive. The featured show is a tribute to the life and music of John Denver. I have always loved his music and was saddened by his sudden and premature death a few years ago. As I listen to the lyrics and melodies I am transported back to an earlier time in my life. Nostalgia washes over me. There is something so simple and pure about his music. The funny thing is, I am not sure I fully appreciated it back then. Now, as I pay close attention to what he was saying . . . really get present with the music, I feel both joy and sadness. So many sweet memories.

I had the privilege of singing, with my dear friend Lois, a trio of his amazing songs at the funeral of our dear friend Dennis. As we sang a medely of I Wanna Live; Lady; and Sunshine on My Shoulder, I felt a complete connection between the past and the present. His music also helped to carry me through my first 10 hour solo drive from California to Utah.

Thirty years after most of his songs were recorded I took off by myself on a journey prompted by love and fear. I was trying to salvage and hang on to the few remaining vestiges of a dying marriage. My husband had always done all of the driving any time we traveled for more than a short distance, but this time I was alone heading for what I hoped would be a joyous reunion. I don't recall much about the outcome of that trip, I know that I eventually found myself embroiled in a long, drawn-out, and very bitter divorce. What I do remember is the freedom I felt as I drove along, windows down, John Denver's music blaring from the radio. I sang along at the top of my voice and the music helped me spend very little time worrying about what might lie ahead.

It was on that trip that I put quarters in my first slot machine . . . and actually won! I remember how free and alive I felt. It seemed as though anything was possible. It was the first of many liberating experiences I would have over the next few years as I began to let go of the past and look toward a new future . . . a very different future than I had imagined for myself.

But tonight, as I reminisce about the bittersweet memories of the past, I am also keenly aware of how perfect my life has been. How every thing that seemed absolutely heartbreaking has brought me to a place in this moment where I feel more love than I ever thought I could. In this present moment I know I have always been taken care of and that no matter what, I will be amazingly fine. As John sings, "Perhaps love is like a resting place, a shelter from the storm." I know I have been sheltered every step of the way in the past and now, I feel love is a resting place as I embrace the blessings of this present moment. It's amazing to me how one song can bring the past and present together!

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