OK, I frequently have spiritual moments at concerts. I go to a lot of concerts, you know? There's just something enlightening about the pulse of the music, the stars over your head and the swell of the crowd....oh yeah, and all that secondhand weed. OK, so maybe I have spiritual-and-slightly-high moments at concerts. Hard to tell.
Recently I was at a country concert (man, I went to so many of those this summer!) and the opening act played a song called "Dirt," which is all about the role that, obviously, dirt plays in our lives. That sounds weird...so here's some lyrics to help explain it better:
You get your hands in it, plant your roots in it
Dusty headlights dance with your boots in it
You write her name on it, spin your tires on it
Build your corn field, whiskey bonfires on it
You bet your life on it
There's another line in that song -- and it's the one that inspired this particular enlightened moment. The band was talking about a recent encounter with a young fan who had leukemia, who passed away not long after their meeting. Now, we all know I have a **major** soft spot in my heart for children with leukemia, thanks to my days of working for Make-A-Wish America, the forever-love-of-my-nonprofit-heart.
And after talking about this young fan, the singer quoted this line from that song about dirt...
You know you came from it,
and someday you'll return to it.
...and it just kind of made me pause for a second in the middle of that crazy, crowded, rowdy, redneck lawn.
"Someday you'll return to it."
I'm reminded all the time of how short life is. Sometimes it's by losing someone I love, sometimes it's by watching or reading the news about other people losing loved ones, and sometimes it's even via fictional movies/books/TV shows. Thinking about death and loss inevitably puts me in this transcendent place where very few things matter except what's REALLY most important. (Every time I watch Meet Joe Black, one of my favorite movies, I feel like I need to go on a long walk and get lost in my thoughts about current goals/priorities/relationships and if I'm making the choices I need to be making in all those arenas.)
Cue one of my favorite Steve Jobs quotes:
“Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Almost everything -- all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure -- these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart. "Because it's a fact: life is short, and unpredictable. And one day you have infinite mortal minutes and hours and hopes and dreams and plans, and the next minute you have....no more mortal minutes or hours or plans. It's one huge aspect of life we can't plan: when it's going to end.
And so I was reminded again, in the middle of that country concert, in a cloud of secondhand weed and noise and sweat and cowboy hats and Wranglers, that I need to make every day count. And that I can't put off until tomorrow all the things I want to say, and all the adventures I want to have, and all the risks I want to take, and all the people I want to love, and all the life I want to live.
"Someday you'll return to it." So...what are you going to do with your life, in the meantime? "There is no reason not to follow your heart."