sharing the load...

A cool and slow-moving day for us in the Berkshires. With hearts made heavy by the death of Anthony Bourdain, and bodies worn-out by two days of serious landscaping, not much is going on at chez Lumsdemott: planting a few herbs and some tomatoes, marveling at the butterflies on the lilacs, listening to some quiet blues. "To everything there is a season," my friend Pam reminds me in a note, "and a time for every purpose under heaven." (Ecclesiastes 3)

A  time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together; time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to throw away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.


This is clearly a season of silence for me. A time to consciously honor the unknown anguish we carry around unseen every day. A time to own my own limitations. A time to share small acts of tenderness whenever possible. A time to listen more and speak less, wonder more and worry less, breathe in and breathe out more trusting a grace that is greater than my ability to understand. I have been chanting/praying this bridge to a song I'm currently wrestling with:

There's music in this madness when I have the ears to hear
There’s beauty in my brokenness when I release my fear
There’s joy inside my sorrow if I take the time to sing
The blues within creation that gives birth to everything


It is ALL about the blues: the sadness and the solace, the emptiness beside the presence, the paradoxical marriage of heart and mind, the wisdom of wounds that can pave the road into peace. Wynton Marsailis said, "Everything comes out in blues music: joy, pain, struggle. Blues is affirmation with absolute elegance. It's about a man and a woman. So the pain and the struggle in the blues is that universal pain that comes from having your heart broken." Taj Mahal added, "Particularly with the blues, its not just about bad times, its about the healing spirit."  And the late Ralph Ellison hit it out of the ball park when he wrote:

The blues is an impulse to keep the painful details and episodes of a brutal experience alive in one's aching consciousness, to finger its jagged grain, and to transcend it, not by the consolation of philosophy but by squeezing from it a near-tragic, near-comic lyricism. As a form, the blues is an autobiographical chronicle of personal catastrophe expressed lyrically.

One of life's mysteries - and blessings - has to do with sharing our blues with those we love and trust. More than anything else, it can be salvific. I don't know why it works (at least most of the time), but I have found that when I risk exposing my brokenness to another, the pain can be shared. Not eliminated, but at least lightened. And for that moment, at least, that is enough. Time for a little soul food with sister Roberta...

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