So far, I've come up with...
...not smoking. Oh, how angry I've gotten at people who smoke. I know, there are two sides to every story, I know, it's an addiction, but for the most part I still think my righteous indignation is pretty righteous. It was your choice to stick that horrible thing in your mouth and start you on the path to suicide. You and several other people around you who have to breathe it. Flame me if you will, but I stick by this.
...my hubby and kids. I'm not sure much explanation has to go with these, but I know they are about 80% of my purpose here on earth and I am 100% committed.
...prayer. I'm not always in the mood, and my prayer life leaves a lot to be desired, but when I pay attention and am surrounded by the idea and concept and people talking about prayer, I know now that I am called to be a prayer warrior. God grant me the faithfulness to answer and carry out this calling.
...various people named Jon/John. My husband, John Cusack, John Corbett, John Mayer, John Denver, John O'Hurley, John Ritter, etc. Some of these were phases or for specific reasons, but at one time or another I have loved them, and some I love still.
...raising my kids with the knowledge that God is as personal to them as He is to me, teaching them that God loves them and is interested in all parts of their life and has a purpose for them, specifically.
...wanting to eat healthily (is that a word?) and hoping to be more responsible about what goes into my body as fuel and where it comes from. (This is a passion that I am still working on.)
...good grammar. Seriously. It's that important.
This is just a partial, on-the-fly list of my passions.
Tonight I finished something I started 10 years ago. (Can you believe that?!) I ordered "Take Me Home: The John Denver Story" from Netflix and watched it tonight. Ten years ago in 2000, they made this movie, and they aired it on tv in two parts. I was in college, and I got to see the first half, but had a conflict the next night and never got to see how it ended. I was also in college -- I can remember exactly where I was -- when I heard that he had died in a plane crash in October of 1997. I was walking through the dorm lounge and the news was on, and I heard his name and I sat down to listen. I think I cried.
Tonight I finally got to see the movie in its entirety.
Earlier tonight, I was reading another blog, one of those blogs that makes it all seem so very clear, so simple. But life is never that simple. You know that this woman who wrote this blog has bad hair days and messy children...although, from looking at her photography pictures, you'd never know it. I loved what she had to say, but then I became weary of looking at her pictures, they were too perfect. All straw fields and blonde children and sunshine and off-white clothing. Too much perfection. Most of us have one or two moments that feel like that in life, and it's downright near a miracle if we happen to have a camera nearby and the moment doesn't fade or pass, let alone be able to pose it! (Lots and LOTS of times!)
But there are times when I feel life CAN be simple. I've decided I hate the phrase "well, that's life." NO! It's not! Or at least change what "life" is to you! "Life" seems to have become defined as a bunch of interruptions and deviations from The Plan that you didn't know about, couldn't see coming, and somehow seem to mess up what you wanted...completely forgetting that we're not in charge of the whole thing to begin with! It's not our show. Life should be what GOD meant life to be. He said "life more abundant," but I believe that isn't supposed to mean more bills, more taxes, more cellulite, more peanut butter smeared on the table, more cracker crumbs in the recliner, more sleepless nights and too little pay. It's supposed to mean more joy, more hope, more patience, more peace, more longsuffering, more love, more calm, more laughter! "But I digress..." (Thank you, Dr. Ruthi.)
I have come to learn that if there's someone you really like, an entertainer for instance, sometimes it's better not to watch a movie or read a book about their life. Because they had "life," too. It was a good movie, but probably only because I love John Denver. I was glad they used John's real voice/music dubbed in, but I'm not sure Chad Lowe has that great of a sense of rhythm (somewhat crucial when playing guitar), or had the real heart of John Denver when doing this movie. But of course nothing ever compares to the original.
John Denver's music has always spoken to my heart. He captured that feeling of living in/on/with the land, hearing the earth sing, and living from your heart to another heart. My favorites are "Lady," "Grandma's Feather Bed," and "Rocky Mountain High," because the first stanza I attribute specifically to my husband (my most favorite Jon) and his journey here to me, this state, and our life.
He was born in the summer of his 27th yearI am almost always in the mood for a John Denver song, and I want to make sure my kids learn them.
Comin' home to a place he'd never been before
He left yesterday behind him, you might say he was born again
You might say he found a key for every door
His music, like few others I can name, was poetic. It was beautiful, and it took me some place inside myself that was unique. It brought about that quintessential feeling a piece of music gives you where you sigh, close your eyes, smile, and go "hmmm." My mom loves him, too; that's where I got to know him. She said growing up in the concrete jungle of New Jersey, she would listen to John Denver and she wouldn't be in the city anymore. He was an escape for her. I wonder if she would've gone to live in Aspen if she could have.
But now I've seen his story. And one never knows how true to life these things are, whether they took quotes directly from his life to put in the movie, but I hope some of these were. One of his lines was, "Annie, you know what it's like to have all these songs in you, and no way to get them out? No one wants to listen to you? I feel like I'm drowning. I'm suffocating." Seems to me I've used language like that previously about wanting to write.
John Denver did a lot of environmental work when it wasn't cool yet to do environmental work. He traveled to Africa for his "Hunger Project," and apparently one of his songs even kept a girl from killing herself. But to watch this story, where he goes through pride, fertility challenges, infidelity, two divorces, and a DUI charge...he wasn't some hero or peace-filled Ghandi. He was a real person, with issues, who just had important things to say and the medium to do it. He paid attention to his gift, and the message got across.
This isn't meant to be a John Denver Awareness post, or an environmentally-charged oratory. Only God knows what specific bad choices he made, or what might've happened if he'd been more committed to his wife and kids (my personal preference and part of the reason you end up wishing you didn't know what you know now). But isn't it the same with all of us? God has a purpose for each of us, and -- if we pay attention to it -- He'll use our gift to get the message across, even from real people with issues. In fact, I'm pretty sure people with issues are His specialty. Because He's given us something important to say.