I had a couple of days this week in which I felt pretty close to overwhelm. I may still be having them. We’ll see. Today’s just beginning.
Some of it regards projects and events about which I’m excited but on which I don’t have the tightest grip, yet, so I’m confronted with a sense of responsibility for things that look murky and daunting. Some of it is just the busy time of year, an overcommitted calendar. Some of it is personal stuff. Some of it is other people’s personal stuff that I soak up like a sponge so I can worry alongside them. Plenty, I’m sure, has to do with the ongoing global pandemic and economic uncertainty and incessant droning of non-stop election cycles with ever-rising stakes. And how am I supposed to schedule everything that needs doing, and who needs me, and when are we going to clean and decorate, and oh my god we’ve got a trip coming up, and what am I forgetting?!
You understand, I’m sure. We’re all there a lot of the time, I think. It’s just how the world tends to occur these days, Life keeps on living, and it’s a lot.
So, I was in the midst of that yesterday, and decided to go out for a walk. Ostensibly, it was to clear my head, but actually it was more like: “Holy crap, I can’t believe I’ve been racing for 9 straight hours and still didn’t even get anywhere near my target steps for the day, so now I’ve got to walk 5 miles this instant, and hopefully that won’t make me late for my next thing, aaaaaargh!”
While I furiously, resentfully speed-walked, I listened to a podcast about the life and career of filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich. It’s interesting, he’s interesting. In this particular episode, he was talking about a documentary he directed about rocker Tom Petty. The program included a short audio clip from a concert, where Tom Petty was performing a cover of Van Morrison’s “Mystic Eyes,” intoning these lyrics:
And I thought to myself
Wouldn’t it be great
Wouldn’t it be great if just for one moment
Everything was alright
If for just one moment, one moment in time
It stopped me in my tracks. I was halfway around my third loop of Roosevelt Park, and I sat down on a bench and transcribed these words. Because, well, yes, now that you mention it, it would be great.
And, more important — I remembered that I’m the only one who can make it so. I’m the only one who can make it alright
I may not be able to solve everything or fix at all instantaneously. I may not be able to shrug off the pressures and stressors that inevitably accompany commitments and busyness. To be honest, I don’t really want to shrug them off — I like being engaged and responsible. I definitely don’t want to stop caring about people and things, even if it means that my heart aches sometimes.
Nevertheless, I can make it alright. I can let it all be okay. Even if just for one moment, one moment in time. Now.
I’ve got stuff going on, including problems — okay. The world is forever working-out a shitstorm of complexity, and I’m aware of it, troubled by it, participating in it — okay. Some things will go how I want them to go, and others will go sideways — alright.
AND… there are also a gazillion things that are beautiful and inspiring and hopeful and kind — that’s better than alright.
We’re talking about Gratitude all month, and especially this week with a Thanksgiving ritual and celebration at our Sunday service. I thought I was going to talk about “thank you” in different languages. How merci, in French, is like the English word “mercy.” How gracias and grazie, in Spanish and Italian, relate to our word, “grace.” Portuguese’s obrigado clearly has something to do with “much obliged,” and so on… Maybe we’ll still get into that a little bit.
But what I really want to do right now is stop struggling and striving for a sec and invite all of us into an open-hearted space of easy, authentic appreciation.
I want to say grace for ourselves and our lives and the world. To pause and acknowledge, honor, and celebrate everything for which we truly can be grateful right now — all the beauty and goodness that so frequently gets sidelined or overshadowed by our bustling anxiety. And maybe to imagine what it would be like if everything, really, was alright.
Join me this Sunday, 10am, at Maple Street Dance Space. With the divine Patty Stephens. XO, Drew
©2021 Drew Groves