Recommended Reading Soundtrack: On Your Own by Distant Cousins
There are moments in our lives when we grieve. When they happen, I feel we go through a deciphering process of what it is that we are really grieving versus what we think we are grieving. Our heart rests in that moment between you and an emotional hankering for what you thought you knew- sadness, joy, forgiveness and love. These are the things that we take with us, no matter how far away the plane ride or the drive is from where you come from.
But the question remains, why is it so hard to leave where we come from?
There are scores of films, music and books about it. And I seem to gravitate toward many of these stories. Our story is a powerful thing, easily mixing with every form of communication we have created. All of our stories have one thing in common- the truth of who we are is buried inside of us along with veils of expectations, perceptions and sometimes denial. The human heart will always play the role of the decipherer and give us the direction we are constantly seeking amidst all of these veils.
As I was re-watching the ending of the film “This Is Where I Leave You”, that old familiar song began to play in my heart. The emotions welled as Jason Bateman’s character says farewell to his family after coming together for his father’s funeral. Each sibling goes their separate ways, but even though they were physically going in different directions, you can see the inner conflict in their faces and body language. No words were needed, just a great song and a look to say it all.
Where we come from is more than a house, more than some land, and more than a voice that replays over and over again in our head like a mixed tape. It’s a complicated, dimensional tale that produced not only who we have chosen to be, but how we react to the world around us, and every judgment we hold against ourselves (beware!). When you pull all of that together into a person, a magical thing unfolds- life.
Sometimes it does not seem so magical to the eye, but we just keep truck’n nonetheless. Why? I’m sure you, me and everyone around us continues to ask this question- especially when you want to pull your hair out and just throw your cell phone, computer or tablet into a lake. Giving up seems like this big open space that could potentially swallow up all of our frustrations without much harm. But is giving up letting go of our expectations or deciding not to believe in our dreams anymore?
“Don’t give up hope. It’s a chore.” Margaret Atwood
Recently I had the great opportunity to hear an interview with author Margaret Atwood. At the end of the interview, the journalist asked her if she had one last thing she wanted to say to the audience. Quickly she scrambled to say, “Don’t give up hope. It’s a chore.” Wise words? Wise words, indeed. What if leaving where we came from wasn’t about saying goodbye to all that good stuff that makes us who we are today, but about embracing it and knowing that it will always be there in every good thing you do?
I can’t help but be intrigued by these words of wisdom by Ms. Atwood. The idea that choosing hope over all the naysayers (we are our toughest critics!) and really believing in yourself and your dreams is not something that just happens- that you have to perpetuate it and be conscious of it like any other practice. All I can do is repeat it over and over again like a mantra- a song, a story.
So, this is where I leave you. Remember, “Don’t give up hope. It’s a chore.” You have to keep on truck’n- your life is worth it.