Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Streetlights

Happy Thanksgiving, Comrades!

Wow, I've got a lot to feel grateful about this year, and one of those things is you good folks reading this! I really appreciate the audience.

Thanksgiving is an increasingly complex holiday for me. It used to be lame. No presents.
Then it started to get meaningful. Then I lost my cousin a few days before the holiday. I now keep a gratitude journal, and that got me thinking. I'm often confused with the topic, and unwittingly alienate and offend people with my persistent questions on the emotion. This is in contrast to the times I intentionally alienate and offend people, mind you! It all boils down to this: People say I should be grateful to be breathing. I answer that it's the default state for a healthy person like me to breathe. I finally got it hammered out. If I substitute "Appreciate" for "Gratitude", I've got it.

I always think of Thanksgiving as the gateway to the holiday season. My mom has told me before that she thinks of Christmas as hope and light in the darkness. I always liked that. In lieu of my cousin's passing, this theme of light in the dark seems to take on a more urgent meaning, and the need to appreciate imperative.

The theme of people mattering, and letting them know that they matter, has become an important one to me. So what better time to think of it than around Thanksgiving.

One of the things I'm most appreciative of this year is The Streetlights. You're probably a Streetlight. This term hit me the other day. I went across the street to buy yet another box of veggie burgers to microwave. (I really need to pack a lunch.) I ran into the guy who keeps the frozen food isle stocked at Food Lion. He's probably about my age, and we're always laughing and joking, saying "Hey man, why'd you take the burgers off sale?" Without fail, because of that guy, I leave the frozen foods section of the rather dingy store with a big grin on my face.

Then it hit me - he's like a street light, illuminating a lonely corner of the world, and providing light for the passerby.

We all want to matter. We all want to count. Celebrities garner all the attention, and they're like the screens in Times Square. They illuminate the way for a lot of people. But anyone can be a Streetlight, and sometimes we're most grateful for the lonely lamp on the dark country road in the rain.

This can tie in to guitar. Next time you're playing a lousy gig, instead of cursing your luck, or hating Justin Bieber even more, illuminate that room with a righteous tone. Of course, strive, aim to burn your brightest in the best possible location. But always, always light up where you are. Don't wait till you're in Times Square to throw some photons to the good people.

Ya never know who's lost in the dark.

Shine on, and Happy Thanksgiving.

- Josh


Gina said...

I read your blog at your mom's suggestion (on FB). I've read through a few others as well. You are an amazing writer (talent must run in your family =). Anyhow, your message gave me something to think about and I wanted to thank you for being a street light! Happy Thanksgiving. (Give your mom a big hug for me!!!) Gina

Patricia Michael Melnice said...

Josh, you are much APPRECIATED and you are definitely more than a streetlight . . . a beacon, perhaps! You have on more than one occasion lit up my side of the street and for that, I am GRATEFUL!

Much love and thanks to you and the fam.