Joan Jett and the Blackhearts
Paul Butterfield Blues Band
Stevie Ray Vaughn
These are the 2015 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees. This is the first time in a very long time that I am actually very satisfied with all the choices. True, not every one of them is a “ROCK and ROLLER”. But then, I’m not really writing about rock and roll right now. I could, but I’m not going to.
Instead, I’d like to say a few words about one of the inductees. Bill Withers. I’ve always loved his music. Not technically rock and not pop… no, he was more of a blues man and I love the blues. Why? Simple, because when you have the blues, you need to hear the blues. And blues is a truly American form of music. Bill Withers haunting baritone and slow pronunciation of words kept time with the rhythm of all his songs and when you listen to him sing, you know he is a man who has suffered.
Suffered in life, love and the struggle for happiness. His music portrays the entire spectrum of human emotions. Truly brilliant.
However; one song of his has been running on a constant loop through my brain these past few weeks. The song, “Lean on Me”. Why? Simple, if you read last week’s blog. I’ve needed someone to lean on. Actually, I’ve needed more than just one person. I’ve needed an army.
An army of friends, relatives and co-workers. I’ve seem to have surrounded myself unknowingly with people who all are concerned about me. How I live, work and relate to everyone in the path of my life. I didn’t set out to do this, it just happened, much like your own life.
As we move forward to our ultimate demise, we inadvertently surround ourselves with people we care about and without even thinking of any reciprocity, they end up caring about us. To me, this is a strange dynamic with countless rewards.
I’ve discovered over the past week, that not only do I have the support of my family in my decision to slow my life down and smell the roses, well, since it is winter, the rotting leaves on the ground but also, my friends, coworkers and even some daily acquaintances are supporting this life altering decision.
It is an odd place for me to be in. I’ve rarely relied upon anyone else in my adult life to help me. When I have had to ask for help, I felt nothing but shame and disappointment in myself for not being able to stand on my own two feet. I still feel this way. I don’t think I will ever not lose those feelings. It’s because I’m a prideful son of a bitch. I know this. I don’t like asking for help and I don’t like needing it. I like to believe I’m an independent Polack on this mudball.
But I’m not. This is more than quite evident in my life right now. And you know what. It is a huge relief to me. Sure it took over a week for me to accept it but right now, I’m actually feeling better about myself. About my life and about the choices I’ve made. I’m not alone, and I never was as much as I thought to the contrary. Nope, I seem to have people around me that will not just help me move forward as a father, husband and man but also as a fellow traveler on this spaceship we call earth.
Yes, there are people in my life I have recently come to lean on and I know if they ever need it they will be able to lean on me for whatever they need. So to them I say “Thank you”. And to Mr. Withers, your music and songs will live forever and there message will speak to millions more.
I am truly humbled by this experience. Have a great New Year.
Lastly, I will leave you with this for your New Years celebrations:
Lean On Me
By Bill Withers
Sometimes in our lives
We all have pain, we all have sorrow
But if we are wise
We know that there’s always tomorrow
Lean on me, when you’re not strong
And I’ll be your friend, I’ll help you carry on
For it won’t be long
‘Til I’m gonna need somebody to lean on
Please swallow your pride
If I have things you need to borrow
For no one can fill those of your needs
That you won’t let show
You just call on me brother, when you need a hand
We all need somebody to lean on.
I just might have a problem that you’ll understand
We all need somebody to lean on
Lean on me when you’re not strong
And I’ll be your friend, I’ll help you carry on.
For it won’t be long
‘Till I’m gonna need somebody to lean on.