“Everyone has their own experience. That's why we're here, to go through our experience, to learn, to go down those paths and eventually you may have gone down so many paths and learned so much that you don't have to come back.”
Here's a confession: I don't know Prince's music. I've never owned a recording of his songs. But when they come on the radio, I always stop whatever I am doing to dance. His music just moves through you, takes over your body and dances it. I remember seeing him a few times on TV, and being a little shocked by his outfit, all lace and bare skin. But, here's the thing—a great light, a gift, has gone out of the world, and I feel the sadness and the weight of that.
Prince loved making music so very much that he did not distinguish between work and play. My son tells a story of being in a club here in Birmingham in 2007 or '08. He and a friend were enjoying pizza and beer and listening to a local band. In walked a small black dude, who went straight to the stage, picked up a guitar and started jamming with the band. Of course, it was Prince, who would be playing to a sold-out crowd the next night at the Civic Center. He played until the place closed, with a gang of folks he'd never met, and likely would never see again, and he did it for free. That is his legacy—he was music personified.
There are so many lessons to learn from Prince's life and his death. Like others before him, he burned his candle at both ends and in the middle. He, no doubt, lived several lifetimes in one, because according to friends and fellow musicians, he never stopped. He slept little, and packed every single second with new ideas and experiences. Great for us, but hard on his human body. He put everything he had into creating his music, his dance, his look, and saved very little for simply being; for rest and recovery. He gave himself away in large doses to his community and his craft.
There's something to be said for living an all-consuming, passionate life. For loving something so much that you give your whole self to it. But it is well to understand that it doesn't make for longevity, if longevity is what you seek. Prince went down all the paths laid out for him with single-minded ferocity. Perhaps he learned enough to not come back. But something in me hopes he will.
In the Spirit,