Poetic Recovery

I am atheist. I groan when I read, “as an atheist” before people make a statement. Well, guess what? I owe lots of apologies because….

As an atheist, I have been asked how we handle life when it sucks: sick kids (or grands), lost jobs, death of friends and loved ones, financial trouble, or any disaster. They rightfully ask, “How do you get through those tough times when even heavy-duty doubters pray for relief?” We do manage without god. Not only are there atheists in fox holes, some of us have died there.

I’m dealing with a cancer diagnoses and some of my doctors ask me how I feel about it. “Well, Doc, this is one time I wish you were wrong. Now, let’s do this.” I want action, science, and medicine; not prayers.

Here’s what I got for ya. Franky, baby! I love the song; both the music and lyrics of That’s Life, by Frank Sinatra. Some say, this too shall pass, but the song puts that theory on another emotional level, and I love it. I hope you do too.

Here are the lyrics. Below them, I also posted a youtube video with music, singing, and the words. Now, let’s get back up, brush ourselves off, and have a wonderful July.

That’s Life

That’s life (that’s life) that’s what people say
You’re riding high in April
Shot down in May
But I know I’m gonna change that tune
When I’m back on top, back on top in June

I said, that’s life (that’s life) and as funny as it may seem
Some people get their kicks
Stompin’ on a dream
But I don’t let it, let it get me down
‘Cause this fine old world it keeps spinnin’ around

I’ve been a puppet, a pauper, a pirate
A poet, a pawn and a king
I’ve been up and down and over and out
And I know one thing
Each time I find myself flat on my face
I pick myself up and get back in the race

That’s life (that’s life) I tell ya, I can’t deny it
I thought of quitting, baby
But my heart just ain’t gonna buy it
And if I didn’t think it was worth one single try
I’d jump right on a big bird and then I’d fly

I’ve been a puppet, a pauper, a pirate
A poet, a pawn and a king
I’ve been up and down and over and out
And I know one thing
Each time I find myself layin’ flat on my face
I just pick myself up and get back in the race

That’s life (that’s life) that’s life
And I can’t deny it
Many times I thought of cuttin’ out but my heart won’t buy it
But if there’s nothing shakin’ come here this July
I’m gonna roll myself up in a big ball and die

My, my

Songwriters: Vernon Duke / E. Y. Harburg

That’s Life lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, Music Sales Corporation, Shapiro Bernstein & Co. Inc., BMG Rights Management

Look both ways for life’s ups and downs. Mind the gaps, as silly as it sounds.

12 thoughts on “Poetic Recovery

  1. Forgive me, Bil 😱 As an atheist, I get through the hard times by sticking to the facts, sticking to the knowns, and leaving the praying to those who need it. As an atheist, I look reality in the face and make decisions and choices based on what information I have, what information I can get, and I trust those in charge to know more. And you are so right: That’s life! I hear Frankie singing from the bottom of his shoes to the top of his fedora! My father loved this song and we listened often. You take life as it comes, you celebrate the good and learn from the bad. And you pick yourself up and get back in the race until you can’t…and then you watch from the porch. Sending love and positive energy, my friend! This July you are still shakin! ❤️

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  2. I love Sinatra.
    Can you let me know what you find out about the cancer. I had no idea and I’m worried. Thinking of you friend.
    From Tonya (writers group)

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  3. That’s life, is all we actually have to say for comfort sometimes. However, it still hurts much much less when we don’t have God to blame for it; which many people who ask us, how do you deal, don’t get. Anyway, I haven’t dealt with much misfortune so really, I don’t know how I would deal with it. But for now, I take much comfort in knowing that life has no mind of its own to intentionally malice me. Maybe luck, but that’s the way life goes. Thanks for sharing with us and we really hope for the best.

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  4. Sorry to read that you’re struck with the cancer diagnosis. Ugh.
    I do love that song, always have.
    I think people who get through things, faith or not, have one thing in common — We Keep Going Forward. Onward, Bill! 🙂

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  5. So Bill, this guy goes to the doctor and the doc says ,”well, I have good news and really bad news, what do you want to hear first”? The guy say “give me the really bad news”. Doc says “you’ve got cancer”. Wow, that is really bad, what’s the bad news? You’ve also got Alzheimer’s disease. The guy say whew! For a minute there I thought you were gonna tell me I had cancer. Bill I know we have just recently become acquainted, but isn’t it a little early for this.? We could at least do coffee first! Never quit. Die trying. Love everyone. Fear nothing! And all the best to you. Keep me posted please.

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    1. Thanks, Jim. The coffee is on me. Funny joke. Ironically, one of my docs told me the two best things I had going for me were attitude and mental acuity. So far, it is good, if one can say that concerning such.

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      1. What else can you do? It’s like the low flying airplane signs you see now and then. You just drive on and maybe peek up through the visor. All the best to you though.

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  6. Frank’s song says it all – and you have the right attitude, Bill. I believe our life experiences are part of an inward journey to answer the big questions. “Know thyself” is the big one. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think since I’ve known you, you’ve discovered you’re a writer, poet, atheist and soon to be a cancer survivor. I’ve always admired your, “right here, right now” advice on how to deal with life. I’ve learned a lot from you and I foresee many more essays and poems on your blog as a result of your latest journey – not a path you would have chosen, but “that’s life”. Sending light and healing energy (cause that’s what we mystics do 🙂 Be well, my friend.

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    1. Thank you very much, Sue. I would say that you are not wrong. BTW, the same person who asked me “are you an atheist?” is the one who asked about how atheists manage difficult times. Both valid and useful questions for us to answer. Your mystical healing energy is always welcome. Again, thank you.

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