When we are present, deeply attentive, we cannot be busy controlling. Instead we become beholders -- giving ourselves up to the mystery of things. We become more willing to let things be. And, as a consequence we can also let ourselves be. Through silence our days are illumined -- like rooms filled with light -- so we may inhabit our lives.
My truest self is what then: shrouded in tears? A grounding in anguish as well as elation? Small wonder I love me some blues, n'est pas? I lost it yesterday during the Poor Peoples "Moral Monday" live streaming with the Rev. Dr. William Barber. He shared this clip from the June online rally that was for me a moment when ecstasy embraced grief and gave voice to God's judgment and promise simultaneously. It was a musical incarnation of Psalm 85 where God's steadfast love and wisdom meet and shalom and hesed kiss.
How serendipitous that this Psalm is paired with the Lectionary gospel reading for this Sunday wherein Jesus meets his terrified disciples on a lake during a storm? The arc of Hurricane Isaias is starting to unleash its power over us now and will continue to do so through the night. My tears feel like this storm. Like the storm over the ancient lake, too and the storm shaking and maybe cleansing America even as the contagion rages. The poet, Marilyn Nelson, put it like this to Krista Tippet:
There’s a big difference between / the mentalities of magic and of alliance. / People who spend their lives searching for God have a magical mentality: / They need a sign, a proof, / a puff of smoke, an irrefutable miracle. / People who have an alliance mentality / know God by loving.”
Tippet: I’m really intrigued by that phrase, “an alliance mentality.” What do you mean by that?
Nelson:I think people who have a “magic mentality” believe that God is something out there that we have to find to connect with and people who have an “alliance mentality” know that God is inside of us and in our connections with each other and with the world, that God exists within and between, not exterior to us, but within us and between us. I think that’s what he was trying to say.
Tippett: So we are allied with whatever God is.
Tippett: And with everything we’re part of.
Nelson: Yes. There is no separation. We are a part of God. That’s — isn’t that the ecstatic experience? We recognize that. And some people know that just naturally. Other people have to learn it.
And so a beautiful sorrow deepens within me today. Not depression, more alliance - alliance with all that is holy in this broken time - the blues in all its hues. Like the lyrics Oscar Brown, Jr. crafted for the Miles Davis masterpiece: "All Blues." It is a rainbow, a lament, the dark sad and the bright glad... they're all blues.
The sea, the sky, the you and I
The sea, the sky, for you and I
I'll know we're all blues
All Shades, all hues, all blues
Some blues are sad
But some are glad,
Dark-sad or bright-glad
They're all blues
All shades, all hues, all blues
The color of colors
The blues are more than a color
They're a moan of pain
A Taste of strife
And a sad refrain
A game which life is playin'
Blues can be the livin' dues
We're all a-payin'
Yeah, Oh Lord
In a rainbow
A summer day that's fair
A prayer is prayed
A lament that's made
Some shade of blues is there;
Blue heaven's hue,
They're all blues