I was sitting in a public laundromat in downtown Hartsville, South Carolina, taking in the sights and sounds of my new temporary home and fidgeting with a new gadget I'd just purchased. My first iPad was both a mystery and adventure, taking a bit of time to adjust to any form of technology without a CD drive. Only days before I'd stepped off a plane with luggage in one hand and my guitar case in the other. I've often said I make my own luck and seek out the magical spaces that my music will eventually inhabit.
I was beginning my second contract as a consultant in nuclear power, having only a year prior left behind my permanent employee status at a plant I'd worked for over 25 years. I imagine I was reflective and grateful as I typed away in my Notes app what would eventually become the following blog post. I couldn't have known then that in less than three months I'd be shaken and rattled by a large farm truck that would barrel through a red light, t-bone the drivers side of my two-door Mercedes-Benz, and knock me across the intersection yet just this side of eternity. Thank heavens for German engineering, as the side airbags saved my life. That's a story for another time, and on May 20, 2011 I was still unbroken and contemplating all that I'd experienced thus far and the coming year in the Southland.
It's been close to five years since I penned this little retrospective and thought it appropriate for my first post here. I'm still delighted as I continue to grow and live such a beautiful life. Thank you for taking the time to scroll through my thoughts below and be blessed...
WHAT MY LIFE HAS TAUGHT ME ABOUT MYSELF...SO FAR
May 20, 2011 at 3:54pm
Being born has taught me that I am the product of an incredibly intelligent, creative and life-giving force that considered it important enough to breathe life into me for a specific purpose. I am one with all creation as evidenced by the meticulous and deliberate design in all things. And that despite periods in my life when I didn't want to live to see another sunset, this gift is not mine to take but rather to fully give.
Being a child taught me that I can always find the wonder and hope in all things if I retreat to that secret playground in my heart. I also learned that I'm pretty good at playing well with others, and I like that about me.
Being a father taught me that my children would likely form their idea of God by my relationship with them. And that while the enormity of that concept has paralyzed me at times, my humanity and imperfections have taken their proper place as the true Father has revealed and manifested Himself in their lives. And I have found tremendous comfort...and relief from the guilt of my faults...in that.
Being a husband taught me that I can devote myself to just one person. Even though that role had a shorter span than I imagined or intended, it's OK. And I continue to marvel and be inspired by those who keep their vows and hold hands through the years.
Completing the Ironman Triathlon taught me how f*#$ing tough I can be. I'll leave it at that.
Having children showed me how incredibly soft and tender-hearted I can be. And I really love that about me.
Romance has given me an intimate understanding of what people mean when they describe butterflies in their stomach and their breath being taken away. I've learned how candle light, music and food can create magic somewhere between the earth and heavens. And that like Willy Wonka once remarked, "The suspense is terrifying...I hope it'll last!"
Love has taught me what great potential has been gifted to each of us, and why we're really here.
My guitar taught me that a gift is serving its full purpose and is most satisfying when it's shared with others. I have also learned that it was given as a gift to me in the solitude of my teenage angst and struggles, and as a spiritual commune with God when I'm alone and pouring my heart out. The lesson is that my gift is a musical expression of emotive love that connects me to others and the Master Conductor. And that a properly made guitar will withstand a lifetime of salty tears and never complain as I hold it tightly in my sorrow. I also think it laughs when I still enjoy smelling the wood through the sound hole. It's just true.
My mental and emotional struggles have bound me tightly with others, and have taken me to places I couldn't have gotten to on my own. I also learned that Bon Jovi was correct through the lines, "It's OK to be a little broken...everybody's broken sometimes...it's just life." Its just true.
Growing old has given me first-hand insights into the circle of life. Time has made a way to accept my mortality, although I really believe I did at too young of an age. I've also learned that the line from the final Rocky Balboa movie is quite correct, that "You're going to prove that the last thing to age is a person's heart." I love that.
Movies have given me a place to find encouragement, hope, and a way to travel through time. They are the ultimate artistic fabric that joins and weaves us all together by engaging all the senses, but two. As you enjoy a bucket of buttered popcorn and the soft touch of his/her/your head on his/your/her shoulder, the experience is complete.
Actively pursuing and exorcising my prejudices, paradigms and faulty and downright unfair and unjust beliefs and values has given me a broader perspective and indescribable compassion for others. I've learned to confront and wrestle with my own personal values, and have found a way to keep my heart open to things I can't fully understand. I think I'm trying to evolve into a universal citizen who happens to reside across a number of time zones on planet earth. I think a lot about being all things to all people. The diversification of Bruce can be sampled through the last line of the previous musing. It includes love among all genders.
Lastly, I've learned that technology can both separate and unite us. It's up to us, and I choose to embrace all the wonders and potentiality of my social network, which has enabled me to share my thoughts, my heart and even whimsical missives with you all. Thank you for riding along and peering into my reflection along side me.
See you soon around the sun...