MY BIRTHDAY THOUGHTS
My birthday was yesterday and this sent me on a mental trip to ponder what means the most to me as I look back over a long and most interesting life.
It meant a lot to me that my parents wanted me at all. My sister died when mother was six months pregnant with me. It would have been a good time to decide there was too much pain in having children and to reject me. Instead, mother and dad both wanted me. I am so glad they didn’t let grief sour them on living.
It has meant a lot to me to have a great brother and a loving sister. My brother and I do not spend a lot of time together but it is all quality time. He is the best man I know with absolutely sterling personal qualities. My sister is my best friend.
My son and daughter turned out well. They are happy, successful, loving persons. I am not sure how much credit I can take in case there is credit to be taken for such occurrences but I do know I loved them both every step of the way. My former wife (their mother) was a wonderful mother and I deeply respect and appreciate her for that.
The chance to serve the people as county executive meant a lot to me. How can you not be deeply humbled when the people hire you four times? I appreciated it so much that I never could do anything dishonest and dishonor the trust they gave me.
Music has saved my sanity many times. I have never had an emotional pain my guitar couldn’t heal. It feels like a part of my body. I craved one from the time I was a small child. My dad was just a knitter in a hosiery mill at the time but he bought me a Martin for my first guitar. I was overwhelmed then and it still overwhelms me
At an early age I discovered I had a natural ability to write poems and songs. It has been one of my primary pleasures. Less important than the hit song I had with Nat Stuckey is just the simple pleasure in creating them. They are my “soul babies.” Songs usually come to me with words and melody fitted together. I may do a Tom Horner-style tweaking but 90% of them end up just like they were born.
I can claim no credit for this ability. It has always been as natural as breathing. Like Willie Nelson said, I think it must surely come from another life I have lived. Yes, I believe reincarnation makes sense. Many early Christian fathers did, too. I have read that it failed to become an official church doctrine in one of the early church councils by one vote. At any rate, I agree with Origen and several early fathers that it makes sense. I do know I am grateful for this ability that came as original equipment on the Daltonobertsmobile.
It sounds trite but God has meant a lot to me. I am thankful for the antenna that started picking up the realness of the presence of God in an around me when I was a small child. Once Andrew Kelsay introduced me as a “southern mystic” and that captures the spiritual part of me perfectly. I never could be an atheist although I have doubted many teachings of the traditional church. How can you doubt something you know inwardly?
My friends have always been sweet treasures and pleasures to me. It seems I am regularly doing eulogies for those I lose and every time one passes on, he/she takes a piece of my heart. But it does serve to make me cherish those who remain.
I have had a magnificent life. If I die today, I will go with peace and love and gratitude in my heart.
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