A month or so ago, I met my friend Tracy at the Oyster Bar in Grand Central. We hadn’t seen each other at all during Covid, except over Facebook posts, so we had a lot to catch up on. She asked about my book, and I filled her in on the up and down’s, some moving feedback, and different parts that fit in with our conversation. …
One of those was an excerpt from a chapter called “Soulshine.” where I recount an incident that happened around 6 months after Adam died. In a very dark and low moment, I was all alone in March in my mother’s summer house. A cold dreary day had turned into a dark lonely night in front of a lit fireplace with a bottle of tequila and music from the 70’s blaring. In a deliberate tease to encourage book purchases, I’m omitting the dramatic details (though I’m not so sure the picture painted with this is enticing) … In short, part of what I shared with her was an experience of Adam’s presence in the music, in a Jim Morrison role (accompanied by my Dad and brother on the back up instruments) singing, “Break on Through” by the Doors.
“Oh my G-d, that makes my hair stand. ‘Break on Through to the other side!’ That’s crazy.” Tracy responded excitedly.
“What’s crazy?” I thought. … But it sunk in quickly. “Break on through … to the other side.” This world, the next world. “Feel me, mom!”
How had I never put it together before? I wrote a whole chapter on this powerful, comforting, hope-inspiring, and literally life-altering experience, and I had totally missed Adam’s obvious and carefully played out detail in the lyrics and name of the song. How or why did I miss it?
In reflecting on that particular instance, I feel blessed that Adam’s presence was still very real and powerful in the actual moment it all occurred, and I was somehow so tuned into it, registering the details of an experience I will always cherish. This cool extra tidbit I’d missed, now four years later, was icing on the cake, a discovery of his personal signature, an exclamation mark to drive it all home. … It was like a second gift after the fact, one that continues to give as I sit here now chuckling, smiling as I’m envisioning Adam shaking his head in resignation and rolling his eyes, “Yup, Mom …” and wondering how I ever missed it.
Many of the other “wow” hair-raising Adam stories have been experiences where his intercession came together in hindsight, where something occurred later, maybe someone shared pieces or facts that were previously unknown, or something weird happened to shed a new light or perspective on a previous situation. It all comes together like, “whoa….” with an after-the-fact awareness of Adam’s real presence or play in it (Stay tuned for a cool example of that next week). In so many of those incidents, the ‘reality’ of his presence was missed in the moment, but there was no doubt of it later.
I guess it makes sense that sometimes more awareness comes after the fact, but how often do we actually miss real stuff happening right under our nose? How much goes undetected? I don’t want to be too hard on us; after all, we’re human, and simple oversight is a normal and understandable part of our imperfection. But we have also created a noisy world, and a lot of distracting ‘stuff’ in our own individual lives. I touched this a bit two weeks ago. How much of the noise that we exist in is even real? How was your last week? Were you busy? Stressed? Anxious? Do you remember what it was all about? If not, how real could it have been?
So, here’s an idea for this week to refocus the attention … Let’s start with Spring. When you step outside, running to the car to get to wherever noisy life is directing, stop for a quick second, and listen. What is the “real noise” you hear? A bird chirping? Kids shouting as they run through the backyards? As you register the actual sounds in your ears, that reality, what else do you notice… go deeper … a sensation of a smile percolating below the surface, ready, waiting only for your acknowledgement to pop right onto your face? A slight detection of a higher frequency of a lightness in your heart? Perhaps a faint but distinct whisper of a subtle flutter of joy?
And how real is that? Hopefully real enough to hold onto as we get in our cars, and as our noisy brains try to redirect our attention from birds to busy and from joy to anxiety…We may be missing a lot of reality, but it could be a simple fix!