Saturday, October 30, 2010

La luna

It is Saturday, October 16th and the waxing gibbous moon is standing sentinel in the southeastern sky. Bright, slightly yellow and showing just a hint of her shadowy  earth shine  she guards all the lovers on earth tonight.
For the first time in many years, both of my sons are together tonight and within a mere 20 miles of where I sit writing this blog. Each is sharing the  moonlit sky  with a  partner who loves them dearly. My youngest is about to be married to his soul mate and his brother has been blessed with a woman who loves and appreciates him.  Four lovers beneath the waxing gibbous moon, enjoying a party to celebrate the coming marriage.Thirty three years ago today, beneath a waxing crescent moon, I too was in love and celebrating the day of my marriage. Cycles wax and wane and so does love. I pray that they step firmly, but quietly, over the fool's quicksand that I didn't safely navigate. My deepest wish for my sons is that their loves wax permanent and binding, granting them companionship through all of life's seasons as La Luna, watches from afar loves lost. lingering, transformed and transcendent.

Friday, October 8, 2010

And The White Dove Sang

It is dark now. Quiet envelopes my personal space with her soothing blanket of white noise, my ears still ring from the previous hours of child noise. Friday opens her doorway revealing the paths of possibilities lurking in a three day weekend. The sigh of letting go, the lightness of step, enough time to shop in the far reaches of my psyche for something to feed the lean week which will loom ahead. Educating our youth is hard, often unrewarded work. But, occassionally the universe throws me a jewel of encouragement that it is all worth it i the end.

Selling a new piece of good choral music to middle school kids is a daunting task.  One needs a hook, a tale taunting enough to grab the adolescent attention out of the trenches of the habitual habitat of condemnation which lies in waiting for anything which might hint at up staging Lady Gaga or Justin Bieber. I have used and discarded lots of "bait" in my time, but the right piece of music will attract it's own catch, given a lifetime long enough to survive the first "Lord of The Flies" knee jerk reaction of "I don't like this" and"Can't we sing some real music?"

I have found that the truth is the strongest salesperson. Four years ago I happened upon this partner song with straightforward lyrics about living in harmony and communication. "Can't we talk it out and learn to give?"
A beautiful melody and some simple American sign language greased it's way into my kids' acceptance zone and I was home free.  They sang it for a group of Persian War Vets and a local congressman at a Veteran's Day assembly and left grown men with tears streaming down their faces. Nothing like the angelic voices of children to deliver a powerful message of truth. The song ended our Holiday concert. I had included the lyrics in the program with a drawing of a dove, hastily attached and a little crooked, on the bottom of the page. A happy ending yes, but the story was not over. That song and I had a greater destiny.

Two weeks later on the last day before Christmas vacation, I rushed to my local bank to cash my paycheck containing a modest bonus. My son had recently lost his job and I had promised to arrive in Minneapolis with
the bonus money to buy gifts for my Grandchildren. I presented the check to the teller and was shocked and greatly enraged to find that my employers had left on an expensive cruiseship to exotica leaving my much needed paycheck unsigned. I was shaking with hurt and fury, as this was not the first time, nor the last, that this had happened. Retrieving my sad, signature less paycheck I turned to walk away and something jolted my attention to the bank wall in front of me. The insert from my concert with the sloppily pasted dove drawing was standing guard, witness to my ordeal . Someone had gotten my message and posted it there amongst the Christmas and Hanukkah cards. The all too familiar lyrics screamingat me to be heard:
                                          " Around the world, we could live together
                                             Happily forever why don;t we try?
                                            There's got to be a way to settle our differences without fighting.
                                             "Where is the peace on earth
                                              Can't there be peace on earth?
                                               Let there be peace on earth today"
Greatly humbled by the synchronicity, I left the bank vowing to be grateful and let go of the anger.

This week I decided to revisit that peace song with a new group of recalcitrant middle schoolers. Like Houdini in search for the right prestige my mind traced possible routes towards successful salesmanship.

I told them about James Twyman's experiment with peace concerts in Kosovo during the 90's and how violence had been reduced in cities where children gathered to sing with him about peace. They appeared mildly impressed. They were listening. Then something magical happened and I decided to tell them the story of my experience at the bank. Altering the details to eliminate details and the culpability of my boss, I simply substituted a computer error in my account for the unsigned check.They were spellbound. The universe had their attention.  Someone said "That is really cosmic!"
"Another said "I love stories about real magic!"  I was happy. I found the hook and knew I could use the song again.  I engaged the CD version in my ancient stereo and as the song was playing, for their first time, I looked at the newly winterized swimming pool in front of me. There, bathing in the water from last night's storm was one white dove. When the music stopped I said "Turn around quietly and look in the pool"
They all saw her.  The moment was magical. The universe smiled.