Woke up this morning...

Woke up this morning...

+ ... sometimes the lyrics come from the gospel/civil rights tune and continue:  with my mind stayed on Jesus/Freedom.

+ ... and sometimes I get out of bed with the theme for the Sopranos in my head

What a GREAT duet going on in my head:  Jesus/Freedom/Jazz/Hip Hop AND the often ambiguous battle between good and evil.  Oh Lord...!

I've been thinking a lot about this ambiguity today not only because it is the anniversary of our time in Istanbul - an city built on ambiguity and paradox if ever there was one - but also because so many people I meet tend to see the world in black and white.  And I don't mean they are color blind - they have binary minds - and divide creation into right and wrong, yes and no, you are with me or against me.  And for waaaaay too long my heart and soul has told me that I can't operate like that any more.  It is too harsh and judgmental.  Too cocksure and hurtful.  Too smug and confrontational to advance the cause of compassion among broken people - myself included.

(You may be sick of my quoting brother Marsalis but... oh well.) In his synopsis of his jazz greats, he says this about the incomparable Art Blakey: He was a total contradiction... who taught you never to judge anyone else. Period. End of story...

Intelligent, ambitious and through... he was a Muslim long before other Americans became Muslims and was devoutly religious in his own way, even though that may sound like a strange thing to say about somebody who all kinds of women, told the truth only when it suited him and had to have his heroin when he needed it.  Though he was often high, being around him taught you not to judge people because you couldn't judge him.  He was such an original, you loved him for who he was. He also would make it clear that you never know enough about people to judge them  You only know what appears true to you... He represented the ultimate feeling of jazz:  easy come, easy go. Not judgmental.

In our era of ideologues - religious, political, moral, educational, musical ad nauseum - I find myself drawn to the simple wisdom of Jesus who taught:  love your neighbor as yourself.  That is, take your neighbor seriously.  Get to know her - listen deeply - get out of your comfort zone - never act like you know her story - keep listening.  You may disagree. That is only natural.  But do it with humility and as much clarity as you can muster and leave the rest to God.  The Lord really is the God of heaven and earth.   

My goal today is to listen as carefully as possible, do what I can and leave the rest to the God:  anything more is bigger than I can handle.

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