June 9, 2013
Saint Francis, at the end of his life, lamented how he had
mistreated his own body, which he affectionately referred to as
Brother Ass. After long years of fierce self-abnegation and denial,
Francis came at last to regard with tenderness, even sympathy, the
failing flesh and bones that so long bowed in submission to the
harsh demands of his mercilessly ascetic life.
As Mickey Mantle said, "If I knew I was going to live this long, I'd
have taken better care of myself".
And Mickey and Francis arenít the only ones.
Back in the fall, without any warning, my left knee began to hurt
badly. Tests disproved my confident assertions that I had never
injured it. To my surprise, the MRI revealed scar tissue that told
an entirely different story. My knee had actually sustained injury
many times over the years!
I simply hadnít bothered to notice.
As a life-long runner, I had become very good at pushing through the
requisite discomfort. I took pride in the ability to override the
nagging aches and pains that came with countless miles and over
twenty years of marathons.
But all of that willfulness can come with a high price. And itís a
bill that can come due for anesthetized souls as well as the bodies
that freight them.
For as stunningly indifferent as we often can be to the complaints
of our bodies, weíre often much worse when it comes to the cries of
heart and spirit.
In my volunteer work in prison I continually hear stories of men
whose codes- of the streets and of manhood itself- required a
shutting down of the ability to feel what was going on inside
emotionally. Deep interior pain was often ignored at Ėeventually-
great cost to both themselves and others.
And of course, our world not only supports this practice; it
actively helps us to remain hard of hearing by providing limitless
opportunities to mask or numb the pleading voices within us.
I'm not saying it's always wrong to ignore these voices. Throughout
history, heroes and saints have shown us the virtues of selfless
disregard for personal safety and comfort.
But context is everything. Is it a choice weíre making? In service
of what or to whom? And are we self-aware enough to understand the
true costs incurred?
Itís been a long road and Iím finally mostly back to my daily runs.
But hopefully Iíve learned to pay a little more attention to
questions like these, as well as the increasingly creaky sounds of
I've got some great stuff coming up this month.... on BOTH sides of
the country! Hope to see you soon!
June 13, Outdoor Family Show, Bellevue State Park, DE, 6:30PM
June 16, Lancaster, PA, 6PM
June 23, Smothers Theater, Benefit for Homeboy Industries, Malibu,
June 24, Grammy Museum, Los Angeles, CA, 7:30PM
Greenwich Village, The Music that Defined a Generation, Film
screening, and discussion panel where John will join Kris
Kristofferson, Michelle Phillips, and Owen Elliott, and film
producer Laura Archibald
More June shows at
© Flying Stone Music
Most of this stuff was typed by a songer-singwriter, so please
excuse typos and double check all info!
To host or help bring John to your area
Joann Murdock at the
Artists of Note Agency at 630.557.2742