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wonderful Decisions

by | Jan 29, 2021 | Cat Stevens, Decisions, wonder

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So who are we… really?  If you study Ancestry family trees or watch Finding Your Roots on PBS, you see the family trees that create the web of life around us.  The paradox is looking backward there are all these Decisions that created you… and then, looking the other direction, there are all these people “behind” you that are the product of your Decisions.  Some wonderful, some maybe not, but either way, a constant journey of time that plays out in the minutes of each day. A strange collection of paths that resemble roads or better, train tracks leading to a huge switching station…

Spending time with my grandkids is like a wonderful time machine for me – taking me back to these years in my early youth where my Decisions started to be more mine than others.  And the great thing about teens is you really don’t have the brain yet for abstract thinking… so all of the creative problems that MIGHT be just around the next corner are … actually not even imaginable by your Brain.  Like my Grandson said today in replaying an event at his preschool that unsettled him… “I am not a Monster, I am Jackson.”  As much as his Dad and I tried to allay his fears that this was just a “role play” – his literal concrete Brain had already Decided this was not wonderful

Every artist I write about by this point I am back in love with, and this particular song speaks so directly to my own experience.  According to Samwell-Smith, they were playing a gig in Aberdeen, Scotland, when Stevens and Davis started composing this song in the dressing room.  “On The Road To Find Out” is about a young man who wants to see the world for himself, so he sets out on a journey to clear his mind and see what he can discover.  It was inspired by a deep spiritual emptiness in Cat Stevens’ life.  He was not writing about traveling in a literal sense but in finding out who he was and the purpose, if any, of his existence. 

When asked about this he told an interviewer that – as far as he recalled – he had originally written “pick up the Good Book now” – an obvious allusion to the Bible, but had altered it to avoid it’s being taken up by “Bible bashers.”  The song foretold what was going to happen to him and that the “good book” he sings about ended up being the Koran, which his brother gave him in 1975.  “Before I received any book, I was writing about this book that was going to change my life,” he said. “And wow.”

The wonder of our lives is those Decisions move us in a direction… whether we choose it or not.  Not deciding is in itself one… and watching so many people around me fearful of even small decisions to engage the world around them… those Decisions have consequences.  We are in a current season of great tribulation about privilege, and other fears and guilts that are pointed out – typically pointing at others.  I was taught pointing was actually rude, but maybe that is yet another odd privilege. The long-term effect is that more and more people are being impacted negatively, particularly our children.  And honestly, we are all kids… just adults have adapted more masks to make it harder to see it for most… 

… I am not sure which Decisions resulted in my own ability to see through those masks easily. At this point, I have stopped trying to sort it, and more decided it is a gift, and in my frame of reference, a wonderful one when I can help those who are trying to change their own trajectories.  It is a process of helping people find that wonderful voice that somewhere got buried, turned down, turned off, shut out… and then teasing it out into the light or the leader to see and wonder – where did that go?  

Central in my own story is a wonderful and difficult Decision for my birth mother to take a difficult road for her … and provide me with a family that was uniquely crafted for me.  In the last couple of years, through Ancestry, I have found that story’s details to be even more wonderful… and frightening at the same time.  But I know that regardless, I started to Decide in these teen years to seek out and find a life that would be interesting, challenging, and rewarding – if possible, simultaneously. I didn’t want it to simply happen – I wanted to push forward to see what I could learn.

It has had many twists and turns, and starting in junior high, like Cat, started to realize that the path ahead could be wonderful, with Decisions that I could make… and be accountable for, now. Imagine if Cat had decided his life was over, laying in his room with TB at 18, or worse, had gone back to the “pop start” he had become.  His wonderful Decision to change directions gave us some astonishing soundtracks for our own journeys. My encouragement for you is to consider your own wonderful Decisions… and what remains for you to really start …. on The Road to Find Out?  

Well I left my happy home
To see what I could find out
I left my folk and friends
With the aim to clear my mind out

Well I hit the rowdy road
And many kinds I met there
And many stories told me on the way to get there

So on and on I go, the seconds tick the time out
So much left to know, and I’m on the road to find out

In the end I’ll know
But on the way I wonder
Through descending snow
And through the frost and thunder

I listen to the wind come howl
Telling me I have to hurry
I listen to the robin’s song
Saying not to worry

So on, and on I go, the seconds tick the time out
So much left to know, and I’m on the road to find out

Well I found myself alone
Hoping someone would miss me
Thinking about my home and the last woman to kiss me

Well sometimes you have to moan
When nothing seems to suit you
But never the less you know
Your locked towards the future

So off and on you go, the seconds tick the time out
There’s so much left to know and I’m on the road to find out

And I found my head one day
When I wasn’t even trying
And here I have to say
Cause there is no use in lying, lying

Yes the answer lies within
So why not take a look now
Kick out the devils sin
Pickup, pickup a good book now

Yes the answer lies within
So why not take a look now
Kick out the devils sin
Pickup, pickup a good book now

Yes the answer lies within
So why not take a look now
Kick out the devils sin
Pickup, pickup a good book now

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