Skip to main content

See also:

New perspective requires a change of you

Rick and Tracy Nelson
Rick and Tracy Nelson
Tracy Nelson

So, you can't see the future and you're worried about what the new year holds for you? Maybe what you need is a change of you.

Lincoln's life mask
1388555857_8922_Abraham Lincoln life mask - Leonard Volk 1860.jpg

Many years ago, my wife and I went to Minneapolis to see the Smithsonian exhibit, absolutely fascinating. Among the many treasures being shown, we had the privilege to gaze upon Abraham Lincoln. His head had been frozen in time by the sculptor, Leonard Volk.

Volk had asked Lincoln to sit for a bust in the early spring of 1860. Lincoln was on a visit to Chicago to argue a court case. When Lincoln consented, the artist decided that to keep the sittings to a minimum he would start by doing a life mask. Lincoln found the process of letting wet plaster dry on his face, followed by a skin-stretching removal procedure, "anything but agreeable." But he endured the discomfort with good humor, and when he saw the final bust, he was quite pleased, declaring it "the animal himself."

The bust was nothing short of amazing. We took several minutes, walking around the glass case, just staring at the head of the 16th President of the United States. He wasn't the same. I only knew the Lincoln on paper, in books, on the five dollar bill, flat, lifeless, stern. But, this man behind the glass seemed alive and you would have sworn he was going to speak at any moment. What was so different, now? Why was he so lifelike? Because, I now saw Abraham Lincoln from a different perspective. Every shadow, every curved line, every whisker seemed to move with each step I took. With every step, came a new perspective...a new view.

Twenty eight years ago on this day, Rick Nelson and his band members boarded the DC-3 in Guntersville and took off for a New Year's Eve extravaganza in Dallas, Texas. The plane crash-landed northeast of Dallas in De Kalb, Texas, less than two miles from a landing strip at approximately 5:14 p.m. CST on December 31, 1985, impacting trees as it came to earth. Seven of the nine occupants were killed: Rick Nelson and his companion, Helen Blair; bass guitarist Patrick Woodward; drummer Rick Intveld; keyboardist Andy Chapin; guitarist Bobby Neal; and road manager/soundman Donald Clark Russell. Pilots Ken Ferguson and Brad Rank escaped via cockpit windows, though Ferguson was severely burned.

We control our destiny. We make choices that alter our future and inscribe today on the face of yesterday. New Years Eve celebrations aren't exactly festive to everyone. Many people dread the holidays, specifically the time between Christmas and the new year. Sadly, these days seem to open old wounds or encourage a reliving of tragic past memories.

Some take these days and moments and use their tragedy to facilitate triumph. That is exactly what Tracy Nelson, Rick's daughter, has done. In her own words, "...I made a conscious decision to change the script, and to do what was in my power to steer the chemistry in my head. The "Noonday Demon" wasn't going to take any more of my time."

A champion, in her own right, Tracy has survived a challenging childhood in show business, a broken home and she has beat cancer three separate times...this is but a few of the seemingly insurmountable peaks she has successfully scaled. She graciously has permitted me to include a portion of her recent social posting, encouraging others to change their perspective, making a "change of you".

"My dad died many years ago in a plane, on New Year's Eve. An old friend of his said at the time, "well, if you gotta go, that's how you want to go- boom, and it's over." But it wasn't fast, or easy, because there was no crash, per se. The plane actually landed, and no one could get out. Not my gentle father and his pretty fiancee, or his loyal, sweet, funny best friends, The Stone Canyon Band. I took comfort at the time in a Sikh friend telling me that only the most evolve souls go out that way, in fire. For years the slow, creaking, cold trudge to the solstice and New Years was horrible for me. There's the warm hug of Christmas to help your nerves, and then the barren landscape of no distraction arrives after boxing day. My soul would go quiet with grief, no matter how many years had passed, and occasionally it would tip over into depression, like the kind I had on the actual day of the accident, before I heard the news. On a ski vacation with my ex husband I sat in the window watching the snow fall , surrounded by ice blue sadness, telling everyone that "something is wrong at home". And the crazy celebrating on the night itself, even before it was a bad anniversary, has always made me unhappy, and anxious. So much drunk recklessness, everyone trying too hard to be "madcap", fireworks and champagne and confetti and countdowns. So much weird energy. Are we celebrating the end of the old year "Thank God THAT'S over", or the birth of the new "This year's going to be BETTER"...? Either way it has always seemed a little desperate, and it never failed to make me very very sad. So a couple of years ago I made the conscious decision to change the script, and to do what was in my power to steer the chemistry in my head. The "Noonday Demon" wasn't going to take any more of my time."

I encourage all of you to look in the rear view mirror! Don't let the past designate your future. Your future is the key. Keeping your eyes on the prize is your goal. Your yesterday is already getting smaller by moving ahead. If you are struggling with letting go of certain things in the past, learn from it, squeeze every drop of "lesson" you can from it and leave it lie. Moving on, whether it's a death in your family, a broken heart, a tedious job, a questionable relationship or an endless rut where you've been for years...and a rut is simply a grave with both ends kicked out. By looking in your rear view mirror you can maintain concentration on what's ahead and watch your troubles disappear. Simply take a deep breath and begin to explore new roads, driving on to greater opportunity.

Lincoln said, "I believe the Bible is the best gift God has ever given to man. All the good from the Savior of the world is communicated to us through this book.". That book sees it like this, “Dear friend, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.” - 3 John 1:2. In order for your soul to prosper you will need faith to feed it. “...without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” - Hebrews 11:6

“I know the plans that I have for you, declares the LORD. They are plans for peace and not disaster, plans to give you a future filled with hope.” - Jeremiah 29:11

Happy new year!


If you like my articles, you can click on Subscribe above, to receive notification when new ones are posted.
Feel free to link to this page or tell me what you think of my column in the comment section below.