To My Child

To My Child

I hope you learn that life isn’t fair.  But that that doesn’t mean it is all bad.

I hope you smile at people, even strangers, and look people in the eye.

I hope you chew with your mouth closed.

I hope you learn how to listen – really listen – to others when they need to be heard, and to the quiet beat of your own heart.

Headed down the path together.

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I hope you learn to win and lose with grace.

I hope you love and appreciate the beautiful, intricate, amazing body you’re in.

I hope you can be silly for the joy of it, and can laugh at yourself and with others kindly.

I hope you have good manners and know when to use them (almost always) and when to relax them.

I hope you trust. In others, and in yourself.

I hope you know how to make something with your own brain and hands – a song, food, a painting, a stone wall.

I hope you learn, without too many tough consequences, that attempts to escape problems, hurt, and heartbreak never really work for long.

Flying!

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I hope you pick up after yourself.

I hope you decide that it is wise and healthy to get enough sleep.

I hope you learn how to advocate for yourself without demanding, complaining or whining.

I hope you understand that stuff is just stuff.

I hope you learn you can expect goodness, but not perfection, from other people. Or from yourself.

I hope you learn how to own up to your own misdeeds, mistakes and slights without excuses, blame or deflection.

I hope you keep learning, about the world, about other people, and about yourself.

I hope you work in any small or large way to make your community, corner, city, world, a tiny bit more just and beautiful.

And I hope you know that when in doubt, you should just put stuff in the trash, and not the garbage disposal.

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The Corner of Hope

I live on the corner of Hope.

No, really.  I actually do. Hope Street.  But isn’t that a nice sentence?

So. I’ve been a-pondering hope…

…and I’ve been attending Springsteen shows.

When I tell you how many Springsteen shows I’ve been to (44), your eyes will bug out, and you will think I am weird. See?  Your eyes bugged out and you thought I was weird.  Let me explain.  Or try to.

Springsteen puts on a great show.  He is a rock star musician in the truest sense.  He works harder than James Brown – the hardest working man in show business.  And he writes some damn good tunes.  (And a few clunkers, but I can overlook those.)  And whether it is the lyrics, the melodies, the energy, the rock spirit, the time it entered my life, or the acknowledged messiness of love, life, growing up, getting older – something about his music speaks to me.  It just does.  I know a lot of folks, my dear husband included, don’t get it, or have never had music move them in the way that it moves me. So I understand that this sounds nutty.  But I embrace the nut!

Wait.  That came out wrong.

The songs are old friends and close confidants.  And the live shows are the closest thing I will ever come to a good old-fashioned tent revival with a charismatic preacher/front man. The message is always one of soul-searching, redemption, strength, weakness and togetherness – loud, and all wrapped up in some searing rock and roll.  At the shows I love to turn around – all the way around – when the house lights are up, the guitars are wailing, the audience’s fists are pumping, and our throats sore from singing along – to look at the crowd.  To see the people all there together.  All experiencing the music together, all letting the music touch us together, singing together.

I have always thought that Bruce believes his finest song is “Land of Hope and Dreams.”  I don’t know for sure, but I would guess he thinks it is one of his great contributions to music and Americana – his “This Land Is Your Land.”  It isn’t a deep song.  It echoes old spirituals about the trains to the promised land (which is actually the name of a different Springsteen song – can you sense a theme?).  It is Pollyanna-ish in its inclusiveness – “this train carries saints and sinners, this train carries losers and winners” – and the lyrics are simple, but the thing I like is that it is about us all going together, being together, on a journey to something, to somewhere better.  And when there are 20,000 people singing the lyrics with you, it’s just hard not to feel renewed.  And like you’re in a really big cult.  I joke, I joke. (Sort of.)

I live on the corner of Hope.

Sounds like a Springsteen lyric to me.

****************

In her lovely post “little boy blue and the man in the moon,” Erin at welcome to grace. kindly invited me to participate in the Melanie Crutchfield’s “Hope 2012: A Blog Relay”.  (I would strongly recommend you click on those dang linky-links and visit Erin’s corner of the interwebs. We seems to have similar views on things – she just writes better than I do. And check out Melanie’s while you’re at it.)  I am slightly late getting around to this, but I figured ’tis better to have loved and lost… oh wait, that’s not it… I figured it’s better late than never. (Clearly someone who was chronically tardy made up that saying.)