"I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance
Never settle for the path of least resistance
Living might mean taking chances
But they're worth taking
Lovin' might be a mistake
But it's worth making..."
"She spins and she sways to whatever song plays,Without a care in the world.And I'm sittin' here wearin' the weight of the world on my shoulders.It's been a long day and there's still work to do,She's pulling at me saying "Dad I need you!There's a ball at the castle and I've been invited and I need to practice my dancin'""Oh please, daddy, please!"
It’s a 2-1/2 hour drive each way. I know where every freeway, rest-stop, and In-N-Out is located along the way. The pre-sets on my car radio are set to country and gospel stations for each county. I know where the broadcast signals end and begin. Ebb and flow, the drive allows thinking, praying, reflecting.
Like in a Winnie-The-Pooh movie, a dark cloud hovers round my head. A seeming darkness in mood, unrelenting tightness in my chest (not changed by loosening the seat-belt). Little things; financial worries, relational issues (a sister who isn’t speaking to me, a mother who doesn’t know God), work pressures. Big picture, a lack of vision, focus, pulling forward. I’d say ‘mid-life crisis’ if these periods didn’t sporadically occur in my life. Maybe in all of our lives.
Days like this, I wonder. What could I have done differently? What if I had followed a different career path (or just A career path)? Perhaps I should have pursued riches and material gain. What if I’d had counsel along the way, an elder guide, a parent who’d invested in this process?
The music on the radio is suddenly heard. “So I will dance with Cinderella, while she is here in my arms, 'cause I know something the prince never knew. Oh, I will dance with Cinderella, I don't want to miss even one song', Cause all too soon the clock will strike midnight, and she’ll be gone.”
For thirteen years, a fundamental element in all my decision making is: How will this affect my being a father? Time, ethics, work choices and a million more miniscule daily decisions all run consciously or sub-consciously through this filter. And I’ve done all right.
Bend in the freeway; rise on the road, the gospel station disappears. Switch over to the country station. “And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance, I hope you dance.”
As I pull into the nursing facility driveway, I continue to wrestle with each of these circumstances. Deep down though, there is a rock-solid comfort in knowing that, at least, I did wrestle. At times, prevailed. Some days, too, I chose to dance.