I have no idea who god is, or if he or she or it even exists. All I do know is that if there’s any kind of divinity that trifles with us mere mortals, then he, she or it has a pretty weird sense of humor regarding yours truly. I mean, I know I’m lucky in certain areas, and I have some friends who I’ve watched go through some incredible travails. Just last month I was visiting a friend at Mercy Hospital who suddenly had things go sideways on him, and when he got checked out he found out he had this brain tumor the doctors removed that turned out to be gliosarcoma, which all you can do is treat with chemotherapy and radiation and hope for the best. And I know someone else who I’ve watched walk through a very painful bout with cancer. So I’ve been lucky there. And those guys are my heroes, really.
Stlll, in other areas, damn. Look, I never signed on for sainthood, but some of the wilderness I’ve wandered through in the past few years has been incredibly trying, and getting things and people stripped away from me on a regular basis until I’m left with nothing but my wits and marginal charm — and, if you’re the believing sort, some kind of higher power that will sustain the day and watch over us — to get by on is tougher than you’ll ever know. Builds character, some people say. What does not kill you will make you stronger.
Um, yeah. Whatever you say, podna.
All I do have is a raging sense of impermanence. Think I’ve found the love of my life? Hey, don’t worry — within the week, she’ll be blissfully banging somebody else and coolly distancing herself from me with lines about needing more space. Finally landed that cool job? Well, we’re sorry to tell you this, son, but it just isn’t working out. Got some great new outlet for art or music or whatever? Ah, we really like your stuff, but there’s this other person whose stuff we like just a teensy bit better, so sorry. Best of luck, man.
And all I know is that what I really have is the perception I’m getting between my ears and behind by eyeballs, right now, in this current moment. The past? Memories, stuff that may or may not matter, people and places and things I need to let go of and move on, because to stay focused on that past is to remain enmeshed. The future? An infinite stream of dreams and nightmares, but nothing there to grasp onto or count on. And, anyway, the only real way I know to build any kind of future is by putting together a string of successful present moments, step by step.
I have no idea where to go from here. I don’t even know how much longer I want to stay in this town. Given my druthers I’d be working enough to pay bills, make amends, live simply and frugally and create some music that no one else may ever give a whit about, but music is the one thing that’s never let me down and continues to give me satisfaction and a reason to keep going. Well, that and my daughter. But everything else? A mirage.
Well, that’s my sermon today. I don’t know a damned thing, really. Shalom, namaste, whatever. —Jackson Griffith