Glen Campbell, kindness and other musings…

It’s anyone’s guess where this blog post will go.  My head and heart are feeling a little mixed up these days.  Annoying female emotions have ridden dangerously close to the surface from time to time the past few weeks (And guys, don’t you dare say in that smug tone “it must be that time of the month”, because it’s not.  And gals, no, I’m not pregnant.), to the point where I broke down in front of my parents this past weekend over something that really wasn’t worth the effort.

I don’t really know why.  Actually, that’s not true, I know exactly why.  It’s the reason I didn’t pursue a career in international studies (my major in undergrad); politics.

Politics has always tied me in knots.  Other than boys and job interviews, nothing else can keep me on edge or awake at night quite like it.  Trust me, I wish I could rid myself of this; it’s annoying and pretty inconvenient.  But I can’t seem to turn off the part of me that frets about how I can love and respect people so much, and we can disagree so dramatically on certain issues.  Or that there are so many people on both sides of the aisle who actively and aggressively dislike those on “the other side.” It makes my stomach hurt a little, which is foolish.  But there it is.

Perhaps that’s why an email turned me into a blubbering kid again in front of my shocked parents (who responded as only parents can, with steadfast support, love and housecleaning.  My fridge and windows have never been so clean).  Or why, while listening to Glen Campbell sing to a packed house tonight, I found myself getting teary-eyed.

This, dear friends, is really silly.  I’m not a Glen Campbell fan.  Oh, I’m not anti-Glen Campbell, I just didn’t listen to him growing up.  I know Rhinestone Cowboy, and I know he’s a legend, which was all I needed to determine that I wasn’t going to miss a chance to see him, but I wouldn’t call myself a fan.

Mr. Campbell, an Arkansas native son who is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, walked onto the stage to a swell of applause and an audience that rose to it’s feet immediately.  It was an older crowd; other than a handful of kids, I was one of the younger audience members.  But unlike most older crowds, it was a lively one, whooping, cheering, jumping to standing ovations at least 3 times.

Usually, when I don’t know the music I’m hearing, I’m bored.  Tonight, though, I was carried off on a wave of something special; I loved every song I heard.  Mr. Campbell was animated, sang well and pretty much rocked his guitar solos (in my humble opinion), and though he lost his way from time to time (his daughter had to remind him what key he was playing in once or twice), there was a lot of love on that stage, and in the audience.

The fact that we all age was front and center tonight.  I know that’s at the heart of the emotions I felt, as I reflected on the great visit I just had with my parents. I took them into the Ozark woods and made them hike some steep hills, only realizing about halfway up that maybe we should have taken an easier path.  Luckily, they are in pretty good shape and took to the hills with gusto, but it was still a sobering thought. Mr. Campbell is the victim of a disease that touches a lot of people today, some of whom I know personally, and it was both heart-wrenching and heart-warming to see his family and the audience embrace and support him.  From reading reviews, I gather this was a good night for him; some haven’t been so good.  It’s a brave and wonderful thing he and his family are doing.

Earlier today I listened to a blogger talk about how she makes a concerted effort not to blog anything mean.  She tries to think of kindness in everything she writes.  Mr. Campbell mentioned this at one point before singing about it, and then he dropped this quote on us (paraphrased):

“I’m continually amazed at how, when I come out on stage, you all give such wonderful support to me and my family.”

And I guess that’s it.  What makes me sad and happy at the same time.  Sad because there’s a lot of unkindness out there, and no one political party or group holds the exclusive rights to it.  Happy because there’s also a lot of love.  Naively, idealistically, I hope the latter wins out. It certainly did tonight.

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