For anyone who really knows me, they recognize two things for sure: one, my knowledge of music can fit in a thimble, and two, I love Stephen Colbert.
Consequently, I almost failed to open an email from a friend about the musical group, “The Mountain Goats,” but because it was about their appearance on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert, I did, happily, open the video clip.
“This Year” is the song they sang, with the bouncy refrain, “I’m gonna make it through this year if it kills me.” Colbert joined in with joyous enthusiasm. I found it to be the perfect summary of my life – or anyone’s life who has lived long enough to reflect on their past.
Serendipity for sure! Last week as I was taking a quiet walk, my life’s successes and failures suddenly, spontaneously, sprang into my conscious awareness. Images, as clear as old Polaroid’s, came into view, scenes from my life, young and old, rich and poor, single and married, ill and healthy, paraded by… and I was the observer, present on this sunny day, walking calmly, having lived through it all, indeed, survived it all. I had, in fact, made it through the years still alive and kicking despite disaster seemingly around every corner.
It took this song from a band I never heard of and a comedian/philosopher I adore to remind me, not only do we need to develop our ability to witness what is happening in our lives, we also need to develop, if not optimism, at least the fortitude to ride out the events. Things change and often the changes are beyond our control. That is the lesson… of the song’s lyrics and of life itself.
Sometimes in the course of life’s ups and downs, there are rough stretches to survive, but as another friend often says, “even when life is bad, it is good.” The skill we can acquire is to enjoy the ride.
Thank you, dear friends, for taking the ride with me.