Father. Husband. Writer. Songwriter. Pianist (careful how you say that). Technology Biz Dev and Sales Guy. Aspiring (aspirating) Triathlete.
For several months before my first child was born (and I dare say, several times since), I had a very odd recurring dream. An angel with a cigarette and a martini would pace the stage at Stanford’s Dinkelspeil Auditorium, sky and clouds under his feet instead of the wooden floor. (An appropriate venue for a dream, since that’s where I scribbled notes and occasionally snoozed through William Dement’s Sleep and Dreams class a year or two…or more….ago.)
Anyway, in between sips, puffs, and a chomp on an olive, this angel was lecturing. Poorly. With words slightly slurred and a periodic coughing fit, he carried on and on with a “live everyday as if it were your last, and one day you will be right” speech. He droned on incessantly about the myriad of ways we would ultimately all lose each other, our health, our family, our memories, our limbs, spontaneous tumescence, and ultimately, our lives. He piled morose detail on morose detail, like an evening of prime time depressing world “news” headlines.
And then all of us (the “all of us” being people from all the different walks of my life, from business acquaintances to college pals, to Grand parents long since gone), filed to the edge of the stage and jumped through the clouds and down to earth, on our way to being born. Thanks to the angel’s gruesome depiction of the inevitable, we all approached the stage with about the same sense of optimism and levity as the troops in the landing boats in the first scenes of Saving Private Ryan.
And each night, as I walked to the edge of the stage and looked down, the angel would put his hand on my shoulder, smile warmly, wink and without any slur say, “trust me – get out there and have a great time.”
With dreams like that, who needs insomnia.
So, from frequent flying and business presentations to the occasional jazz gig, from the endless home building projects to the stuffed animal improv I do for the kids at night, I ponder the wisdom and weirdness of that recurring message. I leave the more serious contemplations of politics, economics, religion, technology and international affairs to those far more learned and experienced. I just sift through the day-to-day looking for truth in that wink, trying to find ways to do more good than harm. I do my best best to trust where all this is headed, but frequently find myself asking for more clues.