I wrote this on Facebook this morning in memory of Tom Petty and the victims of the Las Vegas massacre. I feel strongly enough about this thought to take a break from my promotion of Movie Magic to share it here, too.
I keep thinking about Tom Petty this morning, not just because of his death but because his songs always had a ring of truth to them. My favorite was always “I Won’t Back Down”.
This morning my heart aches not just because the man who helped write the words “I know what’s right, I got just one life” is gone from our lives—out into the great wide open—but also because the interpretation of his words is so highly subjective.
How we choose to spend our one life is up to each individual, and that’s terrifying when you think of the Stephen Paddocks in the world.
You see, I have an idea of what Paddock’s motivations were. I believe he seethed at the news and hated the people who put us here. I believe he sometimes wanted to scream in frustration at the way our country’s liberties and laws were being twisted and skewed. I am fairly certain he felt like I have over the past eleven months. Unlike me, however, I believe he sort of liked feeling that way. Like the old Native American legend says, the wolf you feed is the one that’s strongest. Paddock fed the wolf of hate and he enjoyed seeing it tear the flesh he threw it.
And that’s what has happened to America this year. So many of us (on all sides, to quote our president) have fed the wolf of hate and now we’re spewing pus out over the world. Blame whoever you want—politicians, media, the system that has failed us—but it’s us that the blame lands on in the end.
Face it. We’re all free falling through this world together, and our choices make the world what it is, so be careful what the choices you make are. I’m choosing to love as best I can. I’m choosing to accept that I can’t change what’s happened and not even most of what will happen. But I can choose what I put into the world. I can choose to feed the wolf of love, even if it won’t always be easy. After all, we all know there ain’t no easy way out.
I guess, like Tom Petty says in another of my favorites, “I’ve started out for God knows where, I guess I’ll know when I get there.” If anyone wants to join me, my hand is held out to you.
RIP Tom Petty