As has happened so often over the decade plus of writing this monthly ramble, I was well down the road to publishing something about one particular topic when life shook me suddenly and violently in another motivational direction. The events that unfolded in Dallas the other night did just that.
By nature, I’m a grounded cynic. A moderate realist. A forlorn hippie in conservative clothing. A walking contradiction. Part of the vast silent majority who thinks most folks too far to my left or right are a bit foolish. I keep up with the news and stay aware of current events. In my early 20’s, I worked in politics and had that ever present post-collegiate aire of intellectual invicibility. Then life happened. I realized I didn’t know everything, despite what many of my academic mentors had led me and my classmates to believe. The world was harsh, ugly and more backwards than I could have imagined. Life was dingy, it was about who you know, not what you know.
Somewhere along the way, I transcended into ostrich territory. My journey brought me to a place where I protect my own, take care of myself, keep my head on a swivel and escape to a world full of music, sports, family, friends and good times. I try to fill 100% of my time with these things. Things that bring joy. Things of peace. Things of contentment. Yet, there is always some sort of sliding scale evilness that robs me of this tranquility and forces me to pull my head out of the hole. As you age, and this happens more frequently you become numb. You become desensitized. The highs are higher, the lows are lower…but you always return to that comfortably numb feeling of grand scale inconsequence.
To combat this cold, dark world I try to get back to that joy as soon as possible. Take the media for what it is. Filter the social media in your life. Or as Josh Norman said so eloquently after the Dallas disaster,
“Are you living in the amazing beautiful world that surrounds you, or are you living in the ugly terrible world your phone and tv tell you about?
Unplug your life.”
It’s true. Being an ostrich has advantages…even with your head out of the sand. The world can be cold, dark and ugly….but it’s an insignificant portion of the greater good. The things I cling to, family, friends, good times, music and sports et al are all parts of this greater good. Most people are good. Most places are good. Humans have faults, but most are not inherently evil.
When I’m in that transition between head in sand and worldwide vision after a crisis, I often turn to music. One of the songs that pulled me through the tears of this latest tragedy was from Mark Allan Atwood. The title is “A Little More Love”. Simple enough. And the message is simple too. MAA may have retired to be a beach bum playing for tips (sidenote–I think he figured out this whole life conundrum), but this one song stirs positive emotions among the hate like few others.
I’m a peace loving redneck
I’m a hippie in a hat
Still dumb enough to think that love thy neighbor is where it’s at
And there’s a man upstairs and He’s looking down from above
I bet my life He’d like to see less strife…and a little more love.
A little more love isn’t only the things Mark sings of, it’s both more grand and more finite. Accentuate the positive. Focus on the favorable.
-A child’s laugh.
-Having a full tank of gas.
-Staying up late.
-The smell of rain.
-The smell of fresh cut grass.
-Friday night football.
-Using a new toothbrush the first time.
-When the lights go down right before a huge concert.
-Making all the green lights on a street.
-That old song you forgot about randomly coming on the radio.
-Popping bubble wrap.
-Reaching in your pocket and finding 3 20’s and a 10.
-Empty laundry basket.
-Socks that match.
-Perfect beer pour.
-Holding the door for someone.
-Donating to charity.
I could go on for a long time. Freedom. That’s something else to cherish.
Or meeting up with friends, old and new, for a concert. Now that concert doesn’t have to be Greenfest, but we are throwing the best party of the summer next weekend in New Braunfels. A time to recharge. A time for good tunes. A time for Hill Country beauty. A time for a perfect flowing river. A time for memories. A time to escape for a bit. Whether you join us or not, is your prerogative. But, I hope that you find your own respite in this crazy world we live in. Like I said, it can be an ugly place if you let it. Don’t let it beat you down. Find the good. Get and give a little more love. Trust this eternally peace-loving redneck.
-GREENFEST IS NEXT WEEK! GET YOUR TICKETS!
-I wish the Rangers had made their stadium domed when they first built it. About the only thing Houston sports has gotten more right than DFW is Minute Maid Park. The price tag of new Rangers Stadium will be ostentatious and I’ll be fine if it doesn’t pass…but I like the idea.
-The Pokemon Go phenomenon is something, as a Gen X-er, I don’t understand in the slightest. But y’all keep doing y’all playboys…and chase that money.
-I’m thankful for Fitbit reminders that remind me to get moving. Technology doesn’t only make you lazy…it can alternatively make you busy.
-I miss kids movies that were straightforward and not intellectual. The last few I’ve taken my kids to see have heavy-handed undertones and double entendres. Just entertain please.
-I haven’t been giving myself enough 6 string therapy lately…and I need new strings.
-Perfect Fit meals at HEB are the truth. Thanks Fallon Franklin.
-My birthday is this week and we’re having a pool party with live music. Is there another way to celebrate?
-This month’s recommended album: Aaron Einhouse- It Ain’t Pretty. Late to the party on this one. People I trust kept relentlessly tweeting about it. They know what they speak of, as usual. Paul Thorn esque is scope and style, Einhouse has found a funky-Americana-soul vibe that is unique and worth checking out.
-“Of all the things I’ve lost, I miss my mind the most.” – Mark Twain