My family was celebrating my birthday at a fancy, French restaurant. In the corner, was a pianist – an elderly gent – dressed in a tuxedo and weaving his way, non-stop, through a varied selection of show tunes and contemporary classics.
Afterwards, he joined us at our table, where we marvelled at his mastery of music. He told us many people have said that they would give anything to play as he does. He tells them,“You wouldn’t give up six hours a day, practicing for 40 years, to play like me.” And, if you appreciate anything resembling a balanced lifestyle, he’s probably right.
“I’ve told the truth, I didn’t come to fool you” –– Hallelujah by Leonard Cohn
I often think of that pianist when I’m feeling that my accomplishments aren’t moving along as fast as I would like… everything takes time and comes at a cost. So, one must decide if it’s all worth it.
I owe music a lot. Its melodies and words of wisdom have soothed my restless spirit, gladdened my heart, and made my world happier.
Music was with me as my world changed… where there once was one, there became two; where there once was two, there was an expanding family. My life is happily not my own. The lessons I’ve learned and love I’ve shared can never be duplicated… not even by music. As my youngest daughter discovered, after co-launching a successful Toronto-oriented band, talent was one thing, but the always self-serving music ‘biz’ sucked away her happiness.
“If you gotta play garden parties, I wish you a lotta luck
But if memories were all I sang, I rather drive a truck… But it’s all right now, I learned my lesson well,
See, ya can’t please everyone, so you gotta to please yourself”
–– Garden Party by Ricky Nelson
Now, well past middle-age, I can honestly say – compared to what I could have done – I’ve surely failed as a husband, a father, and friend. I’ve carried out many successes in my life; yet, at what cost to my family?It’s been all about me taking their love for granted… not six hours a day… but 24/7. My next book?– Life for Dummies!
If only I could claim to have returned even a tiny fraction of the love given to me.
“And there’s so much time to make up everywhere you turn
Time we have wasted on the way” –– Wasted On The Way by Crosby, Stills & Nash
As soon as I start hoping to be forgiven for all the time I’ve squandered, I realize forgiveness has come a long time ago.You see, life-sustaining love is often given even when it’s not deserved. So, next time people make you feel down – realize how far you’ve come. Is it further than yesterday? Then you’re a winner already!
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If we fall short of lofty expectations, we can celebrate with Leonard Cohen:
“I did my best, it wasn’t much…
And even though it all went wrong
I’ll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah”
Life’s too short!