Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Being Alive

Tonight, after "long teaching Tuesday" I shlumpfed down in front of my computer to check on the latest news before I crawled into bed. According to sources that care, evidently Brittney Spears compares her life to jail and feels "like a prisoner"

In the comments, Spears appeared to criticise her father, who has placed her under strict control since being appointed her conservator earlier in the year.

"I think it's too in control. If I wasn't under the restraints I'm under, I'd feel so liberated. When I tell them the way I feel, it's like they hear but they're really not listening," she said.

"If you do something wrong in your work, you can move on, but I'm having to pay for a long time. I never wanted to become one of those prisoner people. I always wanted to feel free. I think I've learnt my lesson now, and enough is enough."
What I find interesting about this topic isn't the Brittney factor. It's that I ran across several things that put life and life's difficulties in a different perspective. The first was an online comic called "Bellen"

Then, two different songs popped up tonight while I was shuffling the masses on my iPod. The first was a song called "Grateful" by John Bucchino. A portion of the lyrics include:

It's not that I don't want a lot
or hope for more or dream of more
but giving thanks for what I've got
makes me so much happier thank keeping score.
In a world that can bring pain
I can still take each chance.
For I believe that whatever the terrain
our feet can learn to dance.

The other song is by folksinger Carrie Newcomer. Called, "Bare to the Bone" it says

When I rise, I rise in glory.
If I do, I do by grace.
Time will wash away our footprints
and we’ll leave without a trace.
Between here and now and forever
is such precious little time.
What we do in love and kindness
is all we ever leave behind.

I'm not here to bash Brittney because let's face it, it is very easy to appoint yourself the guest of honor at your very own "poor me" pity party. We all do it. We are tired, stressed, and worried. There are unending concerns about the economy, our family, our employers, our friends, our relationships. There is sickness of body and sickness of heart. It's really no wonder we, as a society aren't collectively sucking our thumbs and rocking slowly in the corner waiting for it all to go away. But then look at the comic:

You are alive -
This is a powerful thing. When you weigh all the sadness, worry and hurt and against that one tiny sentence, they cannot stand.
You are alive - This is a living thing. It means so very much. It means active. It means functioning. It means potential. It means growth and achievement. It means life.
You are alive - This is a gift. Accept it, remember it, and live it for yourself and others.

But how is it possible to ignore the crushing day-to-day problems that bombard us from the minute we wake up until the minute we fall asleep, and sometimes even manage to creep into our dreams? By giving thanks for what we've got. It sounds so simplistic, but it really is the key. Step outside of the Hell and focus on the Hallelujah. There really is much in everybody's life to be thankful for. And then, no matter what life brings us -- no matter the terrain -- our feet will learn to dance.

In the big game we call the game of life, the point of it all is not to finish with the most or the best. In the time that will outlast each and every one of us, no superlative will matter or even last. What we do in love and kindness is all we ever leave behind. So, my advice to a still very young Ms. Spears is to remember instead of feeling like a prisoner in a jail of our own making, remember you are alive. No matter what the circumstances, we can learn to dance. And then? We can hold up the hurts of others and fill them with music and light and healing and peace.

That is a song -- and a life -- worth singing.

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