A warm summer night, a tiny venue, an adoring crowd. Outside the window, buckets of water pour from the sky, and a few claps of thunder loud enough to override the noise level indoors break through.
Inside—in addition to happy chatter, and later, magical music—are love and beauty, failure and heartbreak, all held in her soul, pouring out via her words and melodies into our souls, as we smiled and smiled, and, in some cases, wept.
Inside my being, the warm glow of what my family and friends and teachers give me. You’re big enough to hold it all, one of these told me again last week, you can be solidly anchored at any time; you need only remind yourself of this more faithfully and more deeply, to be prepared when the storms blow in.
It’s true, I know this. Haven’t we all weathered, over and over again, failure, illness, abandonment, the death of our dreams? And the smaller waves too, being judged, misunderstood, set aside; not being liked, not being wanted, not being respected?
Little squalls keep blowing in; the surf’s been unusually high these past few years. Breathe, I remind myself often, breathe. Surrender, detach, let go, expand, feel the wind at your back. There is no need for flailing and grasping, no room for judgment or condemnation or fear, only room for the truth, all of it. I don’t need to be all things to all people. I don’t need to be liked be everyone, nor to like everyone. I just am; they just are. My idea of what is just and fair may not be yours. I may not understand the ways you have found to survive; you may not understand mine. Your experience may be foreign to me, mine to yours.
And then, occasionally, there are those who—either because they have lived something similar, or because they are naturally highly empathetic, intuitive and brilliant—occasionally there are those who get it, and with whom conversation resonates deeply. These people are treasures.
Remember, I tell myself this morning, what Mary Gauthier sang deeply into our souls on Saturday, “Every living thing could use a little mercy now/only the hand of grace can end the race/towards another mushroom cloud/people in power, well/they’ll do anything to keep their crown/I love life, and life itself could use some mercy now. Yeah, we all could use a little mercy now/I know we don’t deserve it/but we need it anyhow/we hang in the balance/dangle ‘tween hell and hallowed ground/every single one of us could use some mercy now…”