Sunday, September 11, 2011

Your Wishes All Come True

      Forever Young - hmmmm - not so much something I want as I am learning more and more every year and that is good.  But, yesterday was my birthday and birthdays always give me pause to consider such notions.  I was working out when my head was filled with  the ever engaging version of Forever Young by Bob Dylan.  I remember being a college student and singing along with Bob, so young and so sure of myself. I  knew it all and never really thought that there would be a time when I wasn't young.  Maybe it's because the lyrics are haunting and true, but that song can stop me in my tracks and make wet stuff show up in my eyes.

      I still want to build that ladder to the stars.  I still want to climb every rung.  But you have to let go of some things because there just isn't time in life for everything.  Priorities have to be sorted out and they have to be sorted out over and over again.  At this point, I am still strong enough to build a ladder but do I have time to reach the stars?  I doubt it.

     I want to know the truth and I want to see the light surrounding me but how exactly do you do that?  Even as I write, I wonder what is the truth.  My friend Jim tells me about the light surrounding me and I want to understand that but it's not always there.  I am still learning.  The killer line here is,  "May you always be courageous, stand upright and be strong".   Go figure.  That seems to be impossible for me.  I can do what is expected of me.  I pull off professional responsibilities with relative ease (though I may whine and appear stressed out).  I can walk my way through life, following the ruts and routines that I have created.  But be courageous?  Not really.  Being courageous implies breaking out of old habits.  I was way more courageous when I was young than I am now.  I must say, however, that it was recently pointed out to me that not being as courageous at this point in my life as I may have been thirty years ago makes sense too.  After all, I know a lot more now than I did then.  I only THOUGHT I knew it then.  Now I know all the bad things that can happen.  I am well acquainted with grief, loss, regret, vulnerability.  So being courageous now is far more challenging than at age 28.

    Bob also sings about having a strong foundation when the winds of changes shift.  That strong foundation was laid years ago but it constantly needs to be attended to.  It needs reinforcement and sometimes it just has to be rebuilt.  The longer that foundation exists, the more attention it needs in order to sustain it.  Winds of change can blow mighty hard and can threaten even the strongest foundation.  And you never know when those winds are going to come up.  They are not attached to any particular season and they can be accompanied by a hard rain or searing fires.  Be prepared for change or your foundation may well crumble and take you with it.

    The part that shows that one is forever young is when the heart is joyful.  Young people are joyful, in the moment people.  They know how to be right here, right now.  They know how to reach out to other people and embrace them.  They freely give smiles and hugs and kisses.  People who are young can fill the world with I love you's and never think a second thought about it.  They see the world in rainbow colors and laugh with delight on a whim.  Now THAT'S the forever young that I want to be.

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
May you stay forever young.

May you grow up to be righteous
May you grow up to be true
May you always know the truth
And see the lights surrounding you
May you always be courageous
Stand upright and be strong
May you stay forever young
May you stay forever young.

May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift
May your heart always be joyful
And may your song always be sung
May you stay forever young
May you stay forever young.


  1. I keep reading that last paragraph of your piece, and I am confused. I want to know why young people have a corner on the live-in-the-moment market. There's a lot of that stuff going around. Read it again, and tell me you don't agree. I know someone who gave away a brand new computer recently, because she thought the other guy needed it. "They know how to reach out to other people..."

  2. I see what you are saying. I was thinking about the smallest people at my school these days - who are 5 and 6 years old. They just live in the moment. They are happy when they are happy and mad or sad when mad or sad. They say what they want to say and there are no filters, no masks for those little kids. That's the part of being young that I want to have.

  3. "They say what they want to say and there are no filters." What a brilliant concept. It's only as we get older that we start to edit what comes out of our mouths and pens. The question is not so much whether or not you can follow that strategy, but how hard it would be as an adult to implement it. Like any change in habits, it would take time and practice, with lots of false starts. The trick is to acknowledge this fact, communicate with your circle of fellow life-travelers, and plug away at it, even if the task is difficult. It's doable, and laudable.

  4. People live too long...

  5. I think I've heard that before...... I wonder if I have lived too long.