Thursday, April 22, 2010

Press Pass: Use it!

One of my favorite days in Taylor's whole life was a day about five years ago on UGA's Homecoming.  We live very close to sorority row in this university town.  Back then,  before he started all of his spine junk, Taylor rode his three-wheel (retirement  home bike?) up and down the main DAWG thoroughfare for hours on end.   Attached to his bike was always his wagon---and usually our poor, unwilling dog. On that  particular, brilliant Saturday, Taylor packed up his bike with a mission  I could see it in him.  He loaded up his bike, but this time he didn't have the  ubiquitous leaf blower--- that morning he loaded  his drum set.  Taylor has heard his own musical siren; the Pi Phi's were having a pre-game party and there was a live (lively and loud!) band rocking out a block from our home.  This mama- turned -detective,  crouched behind bushes and ducked in and out of drive ways as I followed Taylor to whatever it was that had possessed him.  And there I saw the band--on the lawn of the Pi Phi house.   Lo and behold, that little fellow, by golly, just took his drum set and did his own set-up right across the street from the band.  And he played along.  After every number, he moved his little drum set up a bit closer...and then closer, until finally he just crossed the street and joined the band.  Yep, he just moved right on in with them as if he were a core member.  During all of this, I was laughing and crying and making phone calls while hiding all the while.  I mean, you got to let a man have his privacy when he's making his debut with a big band.  Taylor did not need his mama  cramping his style.  No sir ree.  Taylor was there to rock.  He saw something he liked. Something in Taylor had come alive---and he went with it---went for it!  Without hesitation, he made himself a part of it.  And, it worked. It worked for Taylor and it worked for the gathered crowd.  (Stay tuned.)
  I love it when I see people use what I call  their  "press pass mentality."  It's that spark, that excitement--when our longing is louder than our fear.  We see an event/situation  and just show up--and get in.  But we  show up with full confidence that no only do we have a right to be there, but that the show could not possibly go on without us   It's like, "Here's the event and I'm going in and I'm sitting on the front row and then I'm going backstage----because that's what I want to do."  So bam!  Actually it reminds me a whole bunch of my fake Lhasa Apso dog.  Murphy just assumes everybody on the planet is here to see him and up he goes in their laps---lick lick lick---hugs and kisses.  "Ain't this great?  Aren't you lucky to know me?" mentality.   How do people (or dogs) get to be like that?  Is that a DNA wiring thing or is it learned?  I don't know. It does not come naturally for me.    And, sadly I let my own fear keep me from so much.  (So, I will attend my own lecture here).   But....and here's my big fat question for you:  What makes us come alive so that we just absolutely must throw ourselves into life around us?  What has to happen to engage us---fully, wholly,  intensely?  How come we don't just keep our press passes hanging around our necks--out front for all to see?
There's a beautiful quote by a theologian named Howard Thurman.  This press-pass mentality scholar challenges us with this:  "Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive."
Is it just me or do you think lots of us live outside of our own lives sometimes?  We talk about people not being comfortable in their own their own bodies.  I'm just asking...what are we afraid of? 
Is it fear of failure? Rejection? What?  Not fitting in?  Why are we not all using our press passes? 
So, here's what happened to the rest of the world on the afternoon Taylor came alive---after  Taylor joined the band at the sorority house that Saturday in October.  Before Taylor  became the Down Syndrome Ringo Star of the band, the real invited guests were just politely sitting and eating lunch.  Sitting around.....engaged maybe a little.  BUT!  The minute Taylor hit the sticks, everybody got up  and  started dancing! Daughters and their mamas; daddies and their wives;  daughters with their sisters. 
Because when one person comes alive, it is hard for the rest of us to just stay.....seated.
Being alive-----is contagious.
It's what the world needs. 
Come alive. Go do what you gotta do.
Hear the music. 
Load up your wagon. 
Beat your drum.
 Or better!