David Amram On Contributing Our Gifts

3 Dec

It was musician David Amram’s birthday last month, and he left the most inspiring message in the comments section on my blog. Since a lot of readers don’t go back and reread the comments on blogs, I want to draw attention to what he said because its worth paying attention to. It’s worth really meditating on. You can read his entire comment here, but I’ll highlight a few things in particular.

On what we should be doing with our time here on earth:

I am still searching for some wisdom, and recently realized that when you get as close to Methusala City as I am, and try to figure out what it all means, you realize that the most important thing for us to do in this life is to make SOME kind of contribution while we are here.

On our gifts:

And we all have something worth sharing with others, but often our dreams appear to be hopeless to experts who themselves have often given up hope.

[...] We are all born with gifts.

On persevering:

I hope my efforts will inspire young kids to hang in there FOR LIFE, especially when they are told by their career councilors that they should give up before they have had a chance to even get started.

On taking action:

So when young kids come to me and say “I wish i had been around when knew and worked with all these fantastic people. i wish i had lived during that time”, i always tell them what Charlie Parker told me in my basement apartment in 1952 in Washington D.C. when i asked him what it was like to have his song “Now’s the Time” (which he had composed seven years earlier in 1945)

“It’s just the way it should ” he said. “Now was and will always be the time because Now is the RIGHT time!”

My own birthday is coming up, and I’ve been thinking a lot about what I’ve done with my life and what I want to do with my life. I’ve been thinking about how I spend my time and what my goals and dreams are. Sometimes dreams feel impossibly unobtainable. Sometimes they feel like work. Work gets a bad rap. So does dreaming, for that matter. I think, though, that it’s essential to dream, and it’s crucial to work towards those dreams.

As David said, “We are all born with gifts.” Therefore I believe it is our responsibility to contribute them.

I think we often wait for a reason to change or start something new. After the holidays, we’ll exercise. At the New Year, we’ll make our resolutions. Next November, we’ll write our novel. In a different season of our lives, we’ll make time to volunteer more. And then when we fail to meet our own expectations, we wait for the next big marker to begin again. Every minute of every day is a gift. We have the chance to become who we want to be TODAY. We can start using our gifts RIGHT NOW. Sure, over time, our gifts will be honed that much more and we might look back and cringe at our past efforts, but without those past efforts we won’t get to where we need to be.

“Now’s the time.”

* * *

Burning Furiously Beautiful: The True Story of Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road” is now available as an ebook and paperback!

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One Response to “David Amram On Contributing Our Gifts”

  1. Jonathan Collins December 3, 2013 at 11:12 am #

    Fantastic and inspiring words from both you and David, Thank you!

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