Goodnight My Lover

4 Apr

How much do we miss during a typical day? I assume nature intended it this way, for some reason.

If we literally noticed everything around us all the time, our heads would explode. So we create these filters in our brains. As we age, the filters become more selective.  The problem becomes: our filters need tending to sometimes, because they start to filter out a lot of the good stuff, too. .

The expression on the face of your kid when he’s concentrating on homework… or your wife when she’s making a cup of tea and humming to herself… or even your mutt when he’s staring at you with sheer admiration, for no reason other than you give him food a few times a day.

Maybe I’ll miss noticing a bar of sunlight transecting the room. And I’ll certain miss the fact that it’s more than some sunlight. I’m really missing much more. That sunlight is physical – it’s emanating directly from the giant star at the center of our solar system. And as it tracks across the floor, it reflects the constant cosmic dance between that star and our planet.

We get so busy – so much to do, or say, or watch, or buy or worry about.  I know for myself, that’s the case most of the time, actually.

But this week I have taken some time and tried to notice some of these little things, pertaining to the people around me in particular.

I don’t take enough time to really listen, or really engage. Often I wind up listening with my ears but not my gut or my heart.  I find listening – really listening – very difficult. But that’s the only way you can receive the gifts, you know?

And nobody has a greater abundance of gifts to give than the people you love – the family and friends who share every day with you.  Yet these are the very people I so often listen to with half an ear, because they’re there every day – I always have this sense that they’ll always be there.  And that means I don’t really have to listen, or notice, this time. Tomorrow I will really dial in and give them the attention they deserve… Right now, I gotta finish watching this baseball game, or sending this work email.

That’s me on a normal day.

But every once in awhile, I can kinda tune in.  And when I do, I can receive the gifts. For example, I woke up to help get Nate off to school (even though I’m off this week… what a hero, eh?). His hair looked damp and combed. I says to him, I says: “Nate, did you comb your hair this morning?”

He said yes.

I says, “Wow, are you growing up on me?”

He says, “No, I’m knitting a sweater.  Of course I’m growing up!”

That’s a gift right there, you see?

Anyway… I wrote this song with those kinds of little gifts in mind. In some crazy way maybe it’s about gratitude.

But on the surface, it’s about the nighttime ritual. The brushing of teeth, the final pee, the door locking and light-shutting-outing. It’s about the pats and kisses and hugs and, if you like, the prayers.

The older I get the more I can appreciate such rituals, even if they bore at times.  I think the reason is, they involve a kind of common intimacy.  These are private matters, delicate matters, after all.  (I would find it odd to brush my teeth in front of my boss, for example.)

The mind must prepare to relinquish its control over the stage and the actors and the lights.  And we must give that control over to something more powerful, more universal and more connected.

Maybe that’s it. Maybe every night, we experience a kind of pseudo-death, and we conduct our tiny funerals. Toothbrushes for palls, pajamas for burial suits and then, well, we turn out the lights. We know we’ll awake reborn and start the process over again. So these are practice runs… The Universe is kind that way. We get thousands of them before the real deal, if we’re fortunate.

So here is a song about saying goodnight to people that you love.

NOTE: You may have to click on the PLAY arrow to get this to play.

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