It wasn't an especially good day; it wasn't especially bad. But I've never before had a day quite like today.
First off, let me start with a little of the past few days. Since that absurd concert last month, I've been on somewhat of a Prince kick. I've been discovering new songs, reading Possessed: The Rise and Fall of Prince, and I even just got myself a dope 80's ruffled-jacket rockstar poster of the man himself.
Why am I telling you all this? Because after learning more about the life of Prince Rogers Nelson, I realized that in some ways, this man is a role model for me. When he was a teenager, rather than go out and party, he preferred to stay home, by himself, writing music. Later in life, when he was wrking in the studio and people wanted to hang out, drink, and do drugs, he would glare at them, saying "Let's get back to work."
At his first concert as an official Warner Bros. artist, the legendary Prince, the worldwide superstar with the worldwide ego, was a disappointing performer - shy, uncomfortable with the audience, even turning his back on them at times.
But thinly veiled comparisons aside, I took one very important thing away from my explorations: Prince believed that he had a mission in life to bring his creative vision to the world. Very simple. And he focussed the rest of his life around that central theme.
I started writing an entry this morning, including some of what you see above, and also the following two paragraphs:
"I too have always believed this about myself: that I am a man with a mission. And I have too often skirted around the issue, beating myself up for not adhering to it, blaming circumstance, laziness, psychological issues, you-name-it.
"But today I submit to you this. Not a proclamation with fanfare and fireworks, demanding change or death. Merely a shift in perception, an easing into a new framework for understanding life. I'm taking my toe out of the water, and not diving, but calmly submerging myself."
I left my house this morning, entry unfinished. Emboldened by my sense of purpose, I got a few things done, and went uptown to visit my grandmother.
For those of you who have never met her, my grandmother is a spiritual woman. An old Haitian woman with deeply felt beliefs in the power of prophecy and prayer. A strong woman who relies on her cane to move ever so slowly, but whose presence can fill the room.
I entered her apartment, and I saw that she had a guest. Her doctor. And apparently also a pastor.
Shaking hands, I sat down, and we proceeded to make idle conversation. He asked me about my life, what I'd done, where I'd been, where I planned to go - the usual questions a young man expects when meeting people over a certain age.
He went on. "Your grandmother is a special woman," he said to me. "She can heal people with her touch; she can see things before they happen. She is anointed. She has a calling from God."
Hmm. After years of Haitian churches, and of observing the spiritual power that my grandmother gives off, this sort of thing didn't really faze me. But I certainly wasn't prepared for what he said next.
"The rest of the family never believed in it. And the gift never came up in any of her children. She often shows me pictures of her family, and when I saw them, I knew immediately. It skipped a generation. I told her:
'Your grandson has the calling. He has a path set out for him by God, and he is faced with the decision of whether or not he will follow it.'"
Taken aback as I was, I managed a knowing smile, and quietly listened while he went on about predestination and coming to a crossroads and the choices we must make in life.
The subject of course turned to Jesus, leading to a two-hour long argument between me and the pastor about free will, "sexual deviance," martyrdom, and the reliability of faith.
Neither of us having budged on our relative perspectives, we parted ways, - he off to treat a patient, and I left to ponder my most intriguing day.