July 3, 2018

Balancing Reality

Please forgive me if the following seems self-indulgent and feel free to check out of this post if you do.

I admit it. I'm probably the only one who's been discouraged, disheartened and frankly -- frightened -- about the tone and timbre of the good ol' U S of A in the past week and I don't know how to find...well, Balance.

It's not just #BarbecueBecky or #PermitPatty or the kid entrepreneur on the wrong end of mowing grass a hair over a property line or denying asylum to asylum-seekers or children being held in modern day interment camps or its accompanying argument that the previous administration started it...I'm just tired.

Tired and torn, because down here on the third rock from the sun while all that is ripping me to shreds, I know people are still trying to balance out everything from whether they oughta buy the chicken or pay their electric bill, to grieving over children gone too soon.

Man, I'm struggling to balance all of that with the bright spots that still exist.

Because they do. I know they do.

Like music.

We went to the James Taylor concert at Summerfest last Thursday. Our tickets were secured back in January, what seems now like decades before the tapes of crying children emerged or before Antwon Rose...

...or before my friend lost her son.

So we went, despite me feeling off-kilter.

We -- all of the eleventy-thousand people there -- sang our hearts out. We rocked, we shed tears to lyrics that spoke to our souls, we hugged one another.

We even made friends. It's like we were all humans again or something.

These are my new best friends. We met in the bathroom line and we all agree that women gon' make everything alright because we take care of each other.
Then real life barged in after that, as it always does.

There was today. I dreaded it because I knew my friend was dreading it: her son's funeral.

I went anyway with nothing to say, nothing to give. Nothing to salve an eternal wound.

The send-off place greeted me and the entire neighborhood with joyful, celebratory African drums. They beckoned celebration and community as a steady stream of people, some I knew and others I didn't, finding their way to the send-off site.

It's a weird reality: Good and Bad can occupy the same space within singular people. Hurting for the world around us and celebrating life's beauty are not mutually exclusive events. And mourning for a life lost while celebrating that same life well-lived go hand in hand.

It's all a delicate balancing reality -- not a balancing act -- but a reality of the life we all live.

Guess we just gotta look for the simple things like a tune or lyric that touches us, or the freedom that comes from belting out a song even if we're offkey, or the kindness and kindredship of people we won't see again on this side of Heaven...

...or the drumbeat that reminds us we're all traveling this human journey and we need to travel it the best we can with the years we're given.

Linking to the HOST


  1. A friend of mine died this last weekend. It's been confusing, feeling joy in my day-to-day and sporadically remembering that i'm really sad.

    1. Johnny, I'm so sorry for your loss. Cry when you need to and don't forget to breathe in and enjoy the good things too.