Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana


March 11, 2013

You belong among the wildflowers

Kokomo — It’s the kind of lyrics that wreck your heart and warm your heart all at the same time. The melody happily whistles well wishes while the fingertips of yearning for yesteryear slip over each note. It’s the kind of song that sounds like the simplicity of childhood and feels like the rare chance of finding and living a childhood-type happiness — even if the years between now and the date on your birth certificate say you’re an adult.

As I celebrate 27 years on this earth today, Tom Petty’s “Wildflowers” sings a serenade unlike any other; a song that, from my perspective, tells a story about the heart strings of a person pulled in the direction he sees the next generation going: forward.

Forward, in my experience, has been a relative term. For years, I thought if I kept moving forward — blinders on each side — to point X, happiness would be there. X was anything from a certain job, a degree or a destination. Sometimes X would happen, sometimes it wouldn’t and sometimes X would happen and it wasn’t what I thought it would be. So, I’d slide my mind back into my blinders and move “forward.”

It wasn’t until I realized happiness wasn’t marked by a destination and joy wasn’t identified by a job title printed on a business card that I understood its meaning; happiness was actually in the journey to finding my way to any destination, even if it was just dead ends or coasting down Disappointment Lane. To wait and to hold on for happiness, is to miss out on the best parts of it. The search is the part your soul can learn from, the hunt for happiness provides the stops and starts of wrong turns, right turns and meet cues with people who change your world, even if it’s with just a second-long, yet sincere smile. It’s that message penned by Petty in “Wildflowers" that my 27 years identify with.

“Run away, let your heart be your guide

You deserve the deepest of cover

You belong in that home by and by.”

No matter where your return address is, no matter where you take cover from the storm. If your heart is leading the way, you’ll find it; but, only after you take the blinders off and be among the wildflowers, where you belong.

[friday] editor/Started the search in ‘86


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