I hate to admit that it’s hard to find hope this season. There are eruptions everywhere and fears of continued unrest, disease, and divisiveness. I have exerted great effort to not post anything negative and that too is challenging. Rather than publicly decree what many are feeling about the election, I wish to restate my overall concern over the way in which our society has fallen into two camps, each one remarkably blind to the others’ feelings and belief systems. It’s as if we lose sight of our common humanity. We breach the laws of common decency and employ hateful language, derision, and competition to be the winner, to be, well … best! (sorry but I can’t help myself, there does need to be a pronoun or an article or something inbetween be and best).
Recently I visited with my 91 year old Uncle Jack, my late father’s older brother, who recently lost his wife of many decades. I was playing him some music and he requested I sing the song I wrote for my Dad many years ago. “Just Your Way” lives not only on my first CD, but in one of the warmest spots of my heart. I wrote it during a time of tumultuous conflict between us, so much so that it seared my sensitive soul to such an extent that it became a rising phoenix out of my desire for peace and connection. I had never played the song on my guitar and there was no piano available at my cousin’s house. So I’ve been practicing it on the guitar looking forward to playing it for him soon, and it been a sweet reminder of how powerful a healing vehicle it became.
My uncle Jack has a remarkable memory and a passionate streak I never fully appreciated before. In fact he brought much laughter when he recently said to a group he was holding court for, with little knowledge or care for their political proclivities, that the item at the very top of his bucket list was to see the demise of the current administration. Actually what he said was more expletive-filled, but I’m trying to keep my blog clean. Mind you, when a 91 year old shares his bucket list, you tend to pay attention. Maybe you had to be there, but it was pretty funny given the players.
But I diverge. The reason I bring up the song is that it captures an important element worth bringing up. When I debuted the song I wrote for my Dad in front of his family and friends gathered for his 50th birthday, there was a palpable shift in our relationship that followed that moment. One that began a healing path of compassion, forgiveness, and deep love and respect. I have come to see how the song relays a message of the need to accept those in our lives who we not only disagree with, but who are unable to fully give or receive love, or more importantly, unable to see our perspective.
I know that dear Uncle Jack will not let me forget the promise I made to return to visit him and play the song. So as part of my celebration of and welcoming in the new year 5781 for those who are counting, I will be playing him the song and speak to him and anyone who’ll listen of what matters so much to me. That is, of bridging the gaps between such wide divides, such deep abysses of understanding. I certainly don’t have the answers, but I take some satisfaction and find purpose in reaching to hear and comprehend those that look at things so incredibly differently than I do.
I even post on Facebook from time to time in response to political opinions that feel like nails on a chalkboard when I hear them. Yet even so I keep trying to go underneath and find a balm of connection, the love that binds us and ultimately heals. Even though it’s as if the two “sides” are looking through very very different lenses in an often infuriating way. I won’t get into that, but at times I am driven to, in fact I long to find that elusive pair of glasses we can both see through, that overlapping point of humanness that can sharpen the focus of the truth.
I know, I know, I’m an incurable optimist. Even now in times of such dire uncertainty. But it keeps me going. It’s part of why I have ventured into officiating at weddings and other ceremonies, as I like being part of a culture that hasn’t given up on true love, despite all the uncertainty, all the turmoil.
So there once again I’ve said some things in hopes that by writing, something good and strong would emerge. With prayers and blessings for all during this, the newest season of uncertainty…. L’Shana Tova with love and light