The world according to Garth
That title is a reference to a wonderful book, The World According to Garp, which became a wonderful film starring a wonderful man, Robin Williams.
It was the story of an "ordinary" guy who makes an extraordinary journey. Chock-a-block with roller coaster plot twists that kept you white knuckling it from chapter to chapter, scene to scene.
Garth Brooks' life story is something like that. Love that guy. Always have.
So when I channel surfed my way into a Garth Brooks marathon of sorts the other night, I said, "Hell yeah," got myself some popcorn and hunkered right down.
So glad I did. Because it wasn't just a medley of his million sellers. It was a history of his remarkable life, narrated by the man himself. I also think it was the TV version of a book and a boxed set of CDs he released a while back.
The initial installment chronicled his early struggles. And he did struggle, bless him.
Working in a hardware store, I think it was. Living in a tiny house with seven other people. Sharing not just that small space but also carb-loaded, communal, college dorm meals designed to cost, say, a buck per person. You know what I mean. That mac and cheese out of a little box, Ramen noodles...that kind of stuff.
Even after he began to draw large club crowds and found a devoted manager, seven record companies didn't think he had what it takes. His eventual signing was actually an accident.
A Capitol exec was in the crowd that had come to see someone else that night. But that someone else didn't show, and Garth agreed to play in his place.
You know the words to this song, right? Sure you do.
It's the American dream writ large, Garth's life. But what I loved most was being in Garth's head for several hours. And savoring his little nuggets of hard-earned wisdom--golden. Every one.
My favorite is one he borrowed from his father. It hit me so hard I ran to type myself a "note to self" right quick. I should make some sort of poster out of it. Or maybe a bumper sticker or tee shirt or one of those fridge magnets.
I'm just going to share it here with you, though:
"All blessings are curses and all curses are blessings."
Garth illustrated that rather neatly. Saying he'd realized that falling in love with his first wife was a blessing because he'd finally found someone he cared about more than himself, and a curse because...you got it: he'd finally found someone he cared about more than himself.
Don't you love how that works? Try it yourself. Think of something that brings you immense joy and immense anxiety at the same time. You feel that?
Oh, okay. Before you say, "Big deal," think of it this way. What if you approached almost every turning point or milestone in your life fully aware of that?
No, it wouldn't make you cynical. It would keep you centered.
And prepared to handle all the ups and downs rather gracefully--and gratefully, I think.
Seriously. What if you always looked that gift horse right in the mouth and asked yourself, "What's good about this?" And then "What's bad about this?"
And accepted it all. The good and the bad. And rode it like a rodeo star.
There you go. And thank you, Garth!