Pondering Surviving vs. Thriving: Patty Griffin “Chief”

Patty Griffin’s “Chief” is a portrait of someone who’s lived his life wishing he was doing something else.  It really gets to me in that bridge section when she unleashes the full extent of the character’s yearning:

Well I wish that you could see me when I’m flying in my dreams
The way I laugh there way up high
The way I look when I fly
The way I live
The way I fly

In our developed societies, humanity has gotten to a place where we don’t have to worry as much about surviving as we used to.  (There are many parts where that’s still a big question)  But with the survival now secured, we are learning what it is to move beyond merely surviving to thriving.  Thriving means each of us are doing something that makes us feel alive, something where we can draw satisfaction from having spent time doing it and making an impact.  But this is still a relatively new idea, and we don’t really have a clue as to how to guide ourselves to finding that sweet spot, the place where your needs and the world’s needs meet so that what you’re here to give are gladly received, and the world in turn rewards you generously.  It’s an ideal, a dream that is far from reality — but we shouldn’t lose sight of that just because it seems far-fetched now.  There are some of us who are starting to figure it out, and if we keep at it we can make it spread.  We can change.

Then our dreams won’t be the only place where we can be seen flying and laughing.