Last night I had an epiphany.
Full transparency, I have, like many others, been having quite a rough time of it during 2020. Medical issues aside, the onslaught of bad news had wiped my ever-present smile completely from my face during a year that began with me having the audacity to post “I have a 2020 vision for success! This is going to be my year!” In the words of the late Little Richard, “Shut up!”
The year started off great. I was happy as a clam to attend the great Capricorn Studios relaunch in Macon in December. That seems like a lifetime ago. Same with the book signing I did here in Spartanburg with my friend Paul T. Riddle in January. Then came Covid-19. At first it seemed like a bad dream, but it was, and is real. Add to that the insanity of the world, the unbelievable racial profiling and outright murder of African Americans. Watching Lovecraft Country last night and seeing the way the black folks were treated by white police in the mid-1950’s really shook me to the core. The reason being, it is still happening, 65 years later. On the HBO series, three African Americans encounter some creepy horror movie monsters, but their encounters with Southern white folks are scarier than any monster.
So the killings, the violent protests that followed, along with the loss of jobs, closing of businesses, closing of movie theaters, an end to live concerts and fan attended sporting events – all of that began to wear me down. Badly. Add to that the loss of so many great entertainers and several close friends, it became a weight I wasn’t sure I could shoulder. Depression. Anxiety. Fear. They all came a calling.
After my friend Joe Greene died a couple of weeks ago out of the blue, I started obsessing about my own mortality. I was lying awake at night worrying about death. Yes, I was raised a Christian, and yes, I believe. Still, there was an innate fear that worked its way into my mind every night.
Last night I had a dream. I was talking to my parents, both of whom have been dead for many years, just sitting and talking, and in the dream, I told them that I was full of fear, dread and anxiety, but that I had somehow experienced an epiphany. The fear had washed away and I had come to realize that 63 is by no means a death sentence. Neither are health issues. We all have to die, but there’s absolutely no reason to fear death.
I came to the conclusion that I want to be more like my friend the late Charlie Daniels. Charlie stood up for what he believed in. He did everything in his power to help those in need, and he did his best to spread love and to share his faith to anyone who would listen. Charlie set quite a shining example of a life well lived.
For the rest of my life, whether I live to be 100 or if I burn out like a light bulb tonight, I am going to live every day as if it’s my last. I am going to practice love, more than ever before. I am going to strive to be slower to anger. I’m going to mind my own business. I am going to do better at practicing tolerance for human beings of different races, creeds, religions, political affiliations, or sexual orientation. I am going to walk five days a week. I am going to write every day. I am going to play guitar four days a week. I am going to get out of the house more, socially distance, with a mask, but I getting out of the Buffalo Hut. I am going to call friends. E-mail and texting just isn’t the same. I am going to hand write more letters and read even more books. I am going to strive to be more Christ-like, and be the best man I possibly can. Just like Charlie.
-Michael Buffalo Smith
August 26, 2020