Tag Archives: musician

True love lasts a lifetime

True love lasts a lifetime, Emma Thompson declares in Love Actually, (my second favorite movie) referring to her love of Joni Mitchell, a love I share.

My favorite movie, though, is Dirty Dancing, and I have loved it since it was first released in 1987. Dancing-in-the-basement was part of my teen years in my working-class neighborhood in Detroit, and, well, Patrick Swayze as a dancing, working-class hero hooked me.

Soon after the movie was released, a woman I knew through work wanted me to apply for a job in Atlanta, where she lived. Atlanta didn’t particularly attract me, but this woman had grown up in Houston, near Patrick Swayze, and had taken dance classes with Patrick’s mother. She actually knew Patrick Swayze!

I said that if she could arrange lunch with Patrick I would move to Atlanta (my decision-making criteria was fairly superficial). She could not pull that off, but a few months later, this picture arrived in the mail.

travel-Italy-Patrick Swayze
The inscription is faded; it reads “To Madeline, Best wishes, Patrick Swayze.”

I was in heaven. A signed photo from Patrick Swayze. I have carried this picture with me through all my moves and placed it on my desk at every job. True love does last a lifetime.

All of this came back to me when I was in Lucca, Italy, buying a scarf at Zazzi Dalamano. Vladimir is one of the company’s owners, and he was in the store the day I bought my scarf. When Vladimir discovered I was from Michigan, he gasped and said his favorite singer is from Michigan.

“Who is that?” I asked.

“Madonna,” he said, with a sigh that reminded me of how I say Patrick Swayze’s name—somewhat dreamy and wistful.

The person I was travelling with, also from Michigan, actually lived near Madonna and went to the same high school although not at the same time. This information brought another gasp from Vladimir—his connection to Madonna had just gotten closer.

He then told us the story of how he has loved Madonna since he was eleven years old and how he took the train to Rome (about three hours away) to see Madonna in concert when he was eleven. He didn’t say he used his First Communion money, but where else would an eleven-year-old get money to buy a train ticket and a concert ticket?

Anyway, he told his mother he was going to Rome to see Madonna, and she didn’t believe him. I can imagine her rolling her eyes and saying, “Of course you are going to take the train to Rome to see Madonna,” her voice dripping with skepticism.

But he did it, and he has not missed a Madonna concert since then.

I offered to try to connect with Madonna and have her visit his store the next time she is in Italy.

“Oh, no, don’t do that,” he said. “I would have a heart attack and die if Madonna walked into my store.”

Okay, then, I will try to get a signed picture.

True love does last a lifetime.


“During the time young Samuel was minister to the Lord under Eli, a revelation of the Lord was uncommon and vision infrequent.”                                                                        1 Samuel 3:1

So much depends on expectations.

I recently watched a documentary called Searching for Sugar Man” the story of a Detroit musician named Rodriguez who is famous in South Africa (“bigger than Elvis”) but relatively unknown here. It was a wonderful story of two realities—the life he was living in Detroit working in home demolition and reconstruction, and the life of his art in South Africa which inspired thousands of people. He had no idea his music had made it to South Africa.

Eventually some people from South Africa found Rodriguez and brought him there—and he performed before sold-out audiences.

In the film, one of his daughters comments that Detroit “is a city that tells you not to dream big, not to expect anything more.” She says that in South Africa her father is being who he really is—a musician.

A friend of mine who wanted to be a doctor once said to me, “Imagine what we could have accomplished if we had been encouraged to live up to our potential.” She had a dream and could compare her real life to her dream. But I never even had a dream. No one expected me to accomplish anything. I did not know I had potential. Like Rodriguez, I simply “lived my reality.”

During Advent and Christmas, the line from scripture that stayed with me was “Nothing is impossible with God.” I have found myself saying this line repeatedly: Nothing is impossible with God. And if nothing is impossible, then anything and everything is possible.

The line referred to both Mary and Elizabeth, two women whose lives veered off from their expectations. I am especially relating to Elizabeth, who unexpectedly had a son “in her old age.”

When I look back, even a few years, I know that where I am now is not where I expected to be. My life has veered off from my expectations, radically. I have a new life in a new place, a new home, new job—all kinds of “new.”

For me, at this late age, I am birthing a new dream, a new expectation for my life. I am actually writing down the ideas that have been swirling around inside my head for the past fifty years—and publishing them for others to read. Writing is my dream, and I think “a writer” is who I really am.

God wants to give me everything and more. I only need to dream it, expect it, be open to it, receive it and live it.