I prepared a blog post earlier this week and ended up accidentally deleting it. After much time trying to recover it, I realized it is in a realm of cyber space I cannot enter. At least without ample assistance.
I’ve kept the same title, but revamped what I originally wrote. It wasn’t that great anyway. And my memory isn’t that great either. So, on I go………
I’m often glad my son doesn’t play football. Not because I’m against football. I’m not. I grew up in the home of a coach and I’m alright with sports. But I’ve seen kids taken off the field in ambulances. I’ve witnessed the heartache when an injury changes one’s future: scholarships gone, money gone, life changed. On the other side, I realize the advantages to a boy playing. The work effort instilled. The camaraderie of being on a team. And sure, I agree.
But football is not the path my son has taken. Sure, he played pee-wee as a child, along with baseball and soccer and basketball. I have lovely athletic memories as a sideline parent. Yet he emerged into adolescence as a musician. And he’s about to head to college to prepare to be a professional in the field of music.
Aside from carpal tunnel and the likelihood of arthritis in one’s golden years, there isn’t a huge physical risk in being a guitarist, percussionist and pianist. I suppose one could drop an amp on one’s foot or experience hearing loss after too many hours playing the snare drum. But I’ve yet to hear of a musician being sidelined due to being tackled.
This week a realization hit me, though. The life of a musician is not a safe path. Many.many.many artists are plagued by mental issues. I’m not sure why. I have my theories and I could research it extensively and sometime I might. We’ve all heard the stories. The ups and downs of the creative mind. The angst. The passion. Often the substance abuse.
Two things bring this issue to mind this week:
- It’s National Suicide Prevention Week. I’m overcome by how many people suffer from mental illness. And I’m overcome by how society judges those who suffer in this way.
- With a bit of internet research, I’ve come to understand a guy I attended high school with most likely killed himself. It happened this summer. He wasn’t someone I was ever close to. Yet he was a musician, so it hits home. And once upon a time he sat near me in civics class.
I’ve done a lot to protect my son over the years. The things a mother is supposed to. Seat belts, doctor check ups, healthy meals. Yet, I wonder, as he’s headed down the road of artistic hopefulness, if I’ve instilled in him how to care for himself if darkness permeates his mind. Or if he has doubts beyond reason. Or if he just can’t get out of a slump. He can cook and does well handling money. But does he know how to deal with complete aloneness or loneliness or fear?
I’ve at times been an actress. Not on a stage but in life. I’ve pretended that all was well and acted a role. Will he learn to do that too? Does he already? When he’s away at college, how will I know he’s really, truly alright?
I’ve prayed for years for my family’s safety. That God would protect us from accidents and diseases and violence at school. But I’ve failed to pray for mental stability until very recently. I’ve failed to pray protection for the illnesses that plague the mind. And lately I’ve come to realize that despite our best intentions and our belief in an all powerful God, these ailments are as real as cancer and heart attacks. And sometimes people do really odd and peculiar things, not because they want to, but because something is not quite right upstairs.
Yes, I have a daughter also. Please know I have concerns about her well being too. It’s just that the news of a once handsome, talented, well dressed and well liked boy who played the drums being gone too soon can set the mom of a handsome, talented, well dressed and well liked boy who plays the drums a bit on edge. I am not immune.