Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Gentle on my mind.....

There could be no more perfect preparation for putting together an Ash Wednesday service than having a chance to see the film, "I'm Still Me", the documentary on Glen Campbell and his final concert tour with his family after the diagnosis of Alzheimers.
A couple of things you should know: Glen Campbell was my first big crush...well....truth be told I had two crushes at the same time, the other was Captain Kirk (yes...the Priceline Negotiator, William Shatner!) I was three years old! "Gentle on My Mind" was released right around my third birthday....the banjo brings me right back!
I would put the hassock directly in front of the television and totally be in the moment of the Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour. His amazing voice! He was funny! That guitar playing! He was adorable! I really had pretty good taste. The first "45" that I purchased was "Gentle on my Mind", the poetry of which is...well...strangely prophetic....

And it's knowing I'm not shackled by forgotten words and bonds
and the ink stains that have dried upon some lines
that keeps you on the backroads by the rivers of my memory
that keeps you ever gentle on my mind

We are our memories in a way. I guess. Or are we?
What do we take with us when we have shuffled off this mortal coyle? Do we get to take our memories? Who knows, right? It's a scary thought, yet it seems in talking to folk around here who have family members going through it, and in the further googling of Glen Campbell and his family and the current condition, folk know love.
What is there and the end of the day....anyone's day....than that?
The stuff we do, the places we go, are nothing without the relationships we have with others....and at the very core of those relationships is the level at which we are loved. Certainly, we are not loved by everyone. There are levels of fondness and concern...different kinds of relationships. One would hope that there are some who do love us; really love us, and those someones would still be coming to see us if we had Alzheimers. Or cancer. Or lost our way with addiction. Or were just crabby and old. 

Because unless we die young, we are going to be there. Having lost our faculties one by one, all we will have left is love. For some, love and memories, but with Alzheimers....just love.

Where is God in this? Where is this in the run up to the Pascal feast?...of Lent and Easter?...of us recognizing again that we are dust?  Dust in the wind, dude. All we are is dust in the wind!!!!!
Dust and God's breath, really. Dust can blow in the wind and not have thoughts or memories, or communicate. Is to love to communicate? To remember? Clearly not for Glen Campbell and his family and all the other families all over who struggle with that stage of life when the dust we inhabit wears out and dies.

He might not be able to access the backroads by the rivers of his memory....or communicate that he can, but the love that those lines conjure are real to us, therefore real. They are gentle on my mind anyway.

Blessings to all dust and the love that runs through it!