hear and play

Today I had the strange urge to visit a couple of facebook profiles of people who have passed away. They were my age for the most part. I was touched by the loving posts on their page. Family members and friends post periodically: those who still long to converse with them about the holidays, or occasionally reach for their phone to share a funny story. By posting they keep the soft echo of these quieted voices bouncing off the walls of cyberspace. While sobering, I also found it incredibly and wonderfully humanizing.We are each a soloist and an audience member. As soloists, we have our audiences who listen to our songs and find beauty in the notes that we play. As audience members we cheer and sometimes jeer many other soloists. The facebook profiles I visited today were of soloists who have put down their instruments and left the stage. The loving posts were from audience members that yet strain their ears to hear the overtones of favorite melodies.I mentioned sometimes jeering at a soloist. Today I saw a bit of news where Rick Santorum, who is running for the Republican Presidential nomination, was telling of an experience where his wife delivered a still-born son many years ago. In his recounting of the story he and his wife were obviously moved and emotional. As someone who disagrees with many, if not most, of his political ideas I saw, as an audience member, that his approach to politics is not the only song that he plays. From his stage flows also a sweeping lullaby of fatherhood that has ebb and flow of joy and sorrow.

I suppose the point to this post is that I was reminded today that to be an audience member is to know that it is better to do more cheering than jeering and that those exclamations are also the notes that our audience members are hearing and will continue to hear long after we put down our own instruments. May the echoes of our songs be something that will help others be in peace when it is our day to rest.


the song

Have you ever been able to pick up the rhythm of a place where no music is being played? A busy street might have a tight groove where the whole band works perfectly together, and then perhaps an empty park might be an oboe solo with long happy lines and plenty of breath marks. I would even say that what we call music is an organized expression of the songs that we’re sensing. But along with that, I would also contend that underneath all of those songs, persists a subtle dissonance; a pitting of multiple tones against each other that create earth-wide and life-long tension. Have you sensed that? Some would paint it into the strokes of ying and yang. Others would claim it’s the battle between God and Satan. Still others would simply point to the human propensity to let our good intentions run wild and somehow end up plundering the very village we are trying to maintain. A clumsy breed we are. 
So when did it all get so messy? The book I read, says near the beginning. Either way, it’s been our practice to have a paradoxical existence; to have one foot in the pure and one in the puddle. Have you noticed that hate speech is always interrupted by the calm, kind voice of reason? An act of terror seems to uncover unwavering and inspiring courage. Self-hate in the middle of addiction can melt away when met with an embrace of compassionate, honest arms. 
The inconsistencies of our software and hardware indicates to me that we humans are most likely sitting uncomfortably on the plane where heaven and earth meet. Water and dust turned to bone and electricity and then- back to the ground- and we fight the transitions every breath of the way. Why? Perhaps it’s that we gulp for the sweet air of the holy breath that sustains us, meanwhile growing gills in our small, green and blue pond.   

The world seems to be waiting, with drumming fingers, for those moments when the predictable algorithm of our programming is interrupted by mystically motivated moves of compassion. We cannot stop listening when that familiar dissonance is broken by love that lacks logic. 

Be it a moment shared with a loved one or a YouTube video of a child running to his soldier father, we watch, many times with tears streaming, as though this love being shown before us, is both an eternal gift and a missed destination. Could it be that the whole earth is groaning for a day when outrageous love is the norm and our eyes no longer feel the need to leak a reminder of that moment down our cheeks? 
So, shall we play? The meticulous songwriter keeps writing and the passionate conductor beckons. Play well the notes that you’ve been given and be thankful that you get a chair in the orchestra. You’ll miss your cue from time to time, and so will I. Will you play louder when I do? The conductor has been in our chairs before. He smiles at our bumbling, but the baton waves with precision. Follow it, my friend, and play the song.