Changing Seats

I used to have assumptions about life. I didn't realize it, of course. I watched friends get cancer, went to funerals for children, and heard about unfathomable tragedies. Still, I had a seat reserved in the "smooth travel" section of life.

It wasn't just a seat, it was an entire section. All 11 of us were entitled to ride comfortably.

When we got hit by our house I began to see the truth. That life has no guarantees. There's no guarantee that our family will walk away from this with health restored. There's no guarantee we'll make it through financially solvent.

I no longer assume.

So when Ryan came to me yesterday and said he made me a CD, I knew I wanted to listen immediately. With him. "It will take you down memory lane, Mom. Your memory lane." He smiled. These were going to be old songs. I smiled back.

I wasn't feeling well. I had to lie down. Ryan brought in our little CD player, sat on our air mattress, and popped in the CD.

Ryan just graduated High School. The sudden death of my mom kept me from the privilege of watching him walk across the stage to receive his well-earned diploma. But, by that time, I had let go of my assumptions and was traveling coach. Standby.

Ryan was headed for the New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts until he realized his health and lack of financial resources prohibited him from going. I think he's traveling coach now too.

And so we listened. Together. To Joni Mitchell, Neil Diamond, and James Taylor.

When I heard James Taylor's voice sing "Fire and Rain," the tears started to fall. Gently streaming down my face with my son watching. And knowing.

That fire and rain come to each one of us. The loss of a loved one or a shattered dream.

"I've seen sunny days that I thought would never end

I've seen lonely times when I could not find a friend"

The rest of yesterday was hard. Very hard.

But I didn't miss James Taylor or Ryan. I might have. If I hadn't changed seats.