Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Enjoying the Ride

Old human habits die really, really, really hard.

One of my worst habits is my propensity for self-sabotage. It has lessened in the last couple of years, but the tendency still lingers. Sometimes, in the wake of a beautiful and hopeful experience, it rears its head, kind of like that big, squidlike thing that swallowed Johnny Depp in the new “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie.

Today, I decided that monster is a goner. Them old tapes don’t play no more. Vulnerability and joy together do not equal impending doom.

Being human is hard, painful work. Living with an open heart takes commitment and real diligence and a sort of ethereal trust that makes absolutely no sense. Our humanity is built upon interacting with other human beings; not all of those interactions will be good. Our supposedly gigantic brains position us to feel, choose, live, create our days. We have the capacity to discern and decide; we may not always have the option of choosing what happens to us, but we have the option, and the obligation, to choose how we respond.

Ricky Skaggs, one of contemporary Bluegrass music’s hottest performers and a superior musician who with his wife also heads up Skaggs Family Records, didn’t always get every note right in life. The song I’m throwing out to you, “Enjoy the Ride,” is one of my favorite songs, and in the category of beautifully sung by a brilliant instrumentalist. It’s from Skaggs’ last award-winning album, Brand New Strings. I encourage you to add it to your collection. Skaggs and his band, Kentucky Thunder, have a brand-new, all-instrumental recording that I can’t wait to get my hands on.

As I sit here next to my mandolin, I realize how like life learning an instrument is. Some things you do really well. Others take more practice. And some things you just might not ever get right. But I pull it out and tune up, because after all, sometimes we fall. Sometimes we fly. We’re only human. All we can do is just enjoy the ride.

Enjoy the Ride

Another day, another chance
To right the wrongs, begin again
All you can do is do your best
Shake off the past, forgive yourself
It’s just the world we’re livin in
Not many saints, too many sins
You’re not alone, we’re all inclined
To slip and fall, and cross the line
We live and learn with each mistake
To get back up, thank God for grace

Lift up your chin, brush off the dust
Wash your hands of the things you’ve done
Sometimes you fall, sometimes you fly
It’s only life, enjoy the ride

As long as you have air to breathe
Then you have all the time you need
To give your love for all its worth
And make amends to those you’ve hurt
This is your life for heaven’s sake
Redeem yourself, and thank God for grace

Lift up your chin, brush off the dust
Wash your hands of the things you’ve done
Sometimes you fall, sometimes you fly
It’s only life, enjoy the ride

Another day, another chance…

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