All the Blood that I Will Bleed

So show me family
All the blood that I will bleed
I don’t know where I belong
I don’t know where I went wrong
But I can write a song

These Lumineers lyrics from their song “Ho Hey” have been stuck in my head the last 24 hours. I stumbled on them, almost literally, sweating through a chilly basement run on my parents’ treadmill yesterday afternoon. And I can still hear the words now, sitting in another airport, numb in the buzzy aftermath of an historic college basketball game in the Carrier Dome last night.

I suspect that most of us, if we’re honest about it, spend our lifetimes managing the first four lines of this song. Meaning of life. What’s most important? Am I where I’m supposed to be right now? What does the future hold for me? Man, I wish I could go back and do this or that over again, I think I really butchered that the first time around. That type of thing.

I feel like I experienced those first four lines in spades over the last couple days, with a crescendo at last night’s Duke-Syracuse game. Syracuse will always be “home” to me, a place where people I love and have loved for a long time have settled, with zero intention of budging. Combine that essential fact with the intense experience my east coast family has just gone through with my grandmother, and I feel that I have been “shown my family” of late. And I feel, too, that we have shed a meaningful amount of blood together of late.

The belonging thing is a trickier one. But I believe there are certain moments in time when we can look around and realize that this is exactly where we belong. At this moment. Last night, standing on the stained cement of Section 335ZZ, I had such a moment. Plenty has been written about the game, but suffice to say from my perspective, it was a game of historic proportions for both programs, but particularly for the SU Orangemen, and especially for their fans. Legitimacy. Credibility. Vindication. Whatever you want to call it. A very big deal. And I am thrilled to have been there, with my 8 year-old son’s arms wrapped around my shoulders, no less. Magic.

But these moments of crystal clarity are rare, fleeting, nearly impossible to predict, elusive. Who knows if I’ll ever have such a moment of “belonging” again? And I think that’s exactly the point. The point made by the last line of this song: “But I can write a song.”

We have, for the most part, little or no control over how the big questions of life will be answered. Or even if they will be answered at all. But we can write a song. We can enjoy the ride, and not be so wrapped around the axle about the destination. Standing near the top of the pile of 36,000 people last night, I can honestly say that I enjoyed the singular experience. The outcome was practically irrelevant.

And this is why I write (blog), and why I write about what I write about. We can’t know how much blood we’ll bleed, but we can all “write a song.” Buckle up and enjoy the ride.

Thanks for reading.

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