Not so long ago I asked What Happens When Nothing In Your Life Goes As You Planned It To but I never thought that so much could have changed and yet stay the same.
Midnight is moments away and Bob Dylan is singing “Lay Lady Lay” and I am lost in the lyrics.
“Stay, lady, stay, stay with your man awhile
Why wait any longer for the world to begin
You can have your cake and eat it too
Why wait any longer for the one you love
When he’s standing in front of you.”
For a moment I hear the echoes of Dylan singing about having your cake and eating it too and I wonder if it is possible or a pipe dream to have such a thing.
If my children asked about it would I tell them it is possible but improbable? Would I push them to rope the moon and reach for the stars or to stay grounded?
Maybe I would speak with them about Dad’s Barbaric Yawp. Maybe I would tell them about what once was, what never was and what could be.
Perhaps would tell them about when I decided time was a bitch and when I realized I wasn’t going to accept that I didn’t like how life had turned out.
Sooner or later we’ll have that conversation and if my gut proves true I will say to them I am not a fucking tree and I don’t have to stay rooted to things that don’t help me live the kind of life that makes my heart full and my soul sing.
It is an important life lesson. They need to understand the difference between being capable of holding still during a storm and the ability to move. Because when we talk about the ability to do what is required it doesn’t mean taking a beating to prove you are tougher than the next person.
I want them to be smarter than I am. I don’t want my thick head and stubborn nature to keep them from seeing the value in rolling with the punches and making changes.
Dad Blogging With Bob Dylan
“May God bless and keep you always
May your wishes all come true
May you always do for others
And let others do for you
May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.”
It has been almost 11 years since I stood next to Bob Dylan at that birthday party and thought about how odd it was to find myself standing next to a little man in a knit sailor’s cap who was and is considered to be a legendary writer and musician.
I hadn’t moved along far enough on my own journey to have thought to ask him about writing. I don’t know that I would have and not because I was intimidated because I wasn’t but because it wasn’t an appropriate setting for him.
But looking back I doubt I would have asked the kind of questions I would want answers to now. I hadn’t accepted that I had made some mistakes and needed to engage in some significant course correction.
I didn’t call myself a writer then. I didn’t think of myself as a storyteller or creative spirit. I was a father with young children who was focused on trying to earn as much as I could so that I could take care of my family.
Life hadn’t taught me yet how finite time is and the importance of focusing on building a career that would fill my heart and make my soul sing. Some of you will read these words and roll your eyes at, back then I would have.
But not anymore.
Now my eyes are wide open and I see things I couldn’t. I know things I didn’t and I am a million miles away from who I was and yet in some ways I am more me than ever before.
Bob Dylan’s music morphs into Johnny Cash’s cover of The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face and I am stunned by the beauty of the lyrics while simultaneously thinking about how to write such a song.
This is what I am supposed to do. I am supposed to write. I am supposed to tell stories. I am supposed to create.
It is not a revelation any more but every time I have this feeling I smile and I think about my children and my ole as their father.
“Don’t be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
My job isn’t to just raise them and teach them right from wrong. It is to give them the confidence, the courage and the strength to experiment.
It is to help them stand tall when they feel weak and to put a hand on their shoulder when they are worried and say that what matters in life are the moments.
To remind them of the importance to do their best to spend those moments with people they care and love about but to also remember that sometimes you can find these moments on your own too.
There is beauty and joy in solitude as well as with a companion.
Joy and s0rrow are two faces of the same coin but only a fool doesn’t look for joy in the journey.
The beauty of having lived a little bit is that you begin to understand and appreciate the world in a way you can’t when you are younger. After you have loved and lost and then loved again you see the world with different eyes.
If you haven’t done these things. If you haven’t lived a bit you might see this as being a commentary about relationships but if you have you might understand it differently.
You might also see it as thoughts about inventing and reinventing yourself.
Maybe both are true or maybe neither. The joy of life is finding meaning for yourself and not for others.