As wildfires burn in Western NC and fires of protest burn throughout the US, I find I return to prayer. The first word is “why?” The question is the continual prayer of my life in addition this this prayer, “…where is it written what it is I’m meant to be”? God knows I’ve read as many religious books as possible and tried the self-help books. Maybe the answer is only written on my soul.
I have always asked the question “why?” because I am a curious person. I love to learn. I will always ask the question of being, because I want to grow into the goodness that I feel God planned for me.
Yet, there are also questions that are larger than facts – the unanswerable questions. Conundrum, mystery, enigma, these are all embraced in the question of “why?” and in our days of discovery, we do not like to leave things alone. There are things that need to be left alone. Yet, there are always things that need to be questioned too.
The challenge of this week, after an election of a man and a vice-presidential candidate who seeks to get rid of people like me (homosexuals) is not where do I stand, but how do I respond? I cannot imagine the terror that people of color feel. What does it mean for me, a person who seeks nonviolence, to respond to someone who advocates hate and deportation of immigrants? I know that I stand for the underdog, the oppressed, the wayfaring stranger. I love diversity and different cultures, people of different races. The environment is important to me as well as human and animal rights. The natural diversity of life is beautiful to me and sacred.
Here’s the thing…I’m willing to stand up for others in writing. I can also be present and courageous in person. Because of my health challenges, I can no longer participate in meetings or marches or protests. I cannot go out and sing or teach and preach out in public anymore. It saddens me. I can only write. But the thing that others are reminding me is that writers and other artists can make a difference to empower those who are physically stronger.
How can I support you in this time of change? Who are you and what do you need in this moment? I have no money or advice really. Just ears to listen, a praying and loving heart, and words. It is my prayer that that is enough.
May I be worthy.
Where Is It Written?
lyrics from Yentl
God, our merciful father,
I’m wrapped in a robe of light,
Clothed in your glory
That spreads its wings over my soul.
Maybe I be worthy
There’s not a morning I begin without
A thousand questions running through my mind,
That I don’t try to find the reason and the logic
In the world that God designed.
The reason why
a bird was given wings,
If not to fly and praise the sky
With every song it sings.
What’s right or wrong,
Where I belong
Within the scheme of things…
And why have eyes that see
And arms that reach
Unless you’re meant to know
There’s something more?
If not to hunger for the meaning of it all,
Then tell me what a soul is for?
Why have the wings
Unless you’re meant to fly?
And tell me please, why have a mind
If not to question why?
And tell me where-
Where is it written what it is
I’m meant to be, that I can’t dare
To have the chance to pick the fruit of every tree,
Or have my share of every sweet-imagined possibility?
Just tell me where, tell me where?
If I were only meant to tend the nest,
Then why does my imagination sail
Across the mountains and the seas,
Beyond the make-believe of any fairy tale?
Why have the thirst if not to drink the wine?
And what a waste to have a taste
Of things that can’t he mine?
And tell me where, where is it written what it is
I’m meant to be, that I can’t dare-
to find the meanings in the mornings that I see,
Or have my share of every sweet-imagined possibility?
Just tell me where- where is it written?
Tell me where-
Or if it’s written anywhere?
Taking time. What an oxymoron. How can we take time that belongs to no one, that really doesn’t exist. We measure our lives by days and hours. They do add up to something, though for each of us, that measure means something different. As I listen to music from India (in particular Raag Pilu), along with a violin, the musical line floats around my being as ethereal as time. The music being played is played by modern musicians who have learned an art passed down through time. Anoushka Shankar is the daughter of Ravi Shankar who is another famous sitar player. I’m not as fond of Ravi’s choices, but I love this video and the Raag Pilu Ravi wrote. This is reflection music for me. Beware, sitar music isn’t for everyone.
I can’t pick out a tune, because I can’t hear a particular one. As a result, my mind rests. In a sense, feeling each note like a second hand ticks off the clock my mind dances. The music here does not seem as linear as Western music, it sounds more spiral, but not looped. It’s not to say that there are no rules, only that I don’t know the rules. The exotic scale is different enough to allow my mind to dance without thinking, without counting the minutes, the seconds, until I need to DO something “productive”. I was up all night and unlike usual, I was able to merely enjoy being here. The ticking clock caused no worry or concern. My body was free from pain. The wind blustered outside, but it was merely fall coming over the mountains. Leaves blew against the house sounding like rain. The cat purred beside of me. I wasn’t “taking time” for anything and time wasn’t taking anything from me.
Philosophers, theologians, physicists, and most religions talk about time and its effect on us, or its lack of influence. Regardless, we allow time to affect us in ways that hinder us from seeing the beauty of life. As I pause to consider my next words, I see a leaf outside the window that trills much like the trill being played on Anoushka’s sitar. There is no time. At least, none that one can grasp like a clock. The time we have is eternal and internal. Our times affect others and of course there are consequences in how we respond, react, or reach out. Nothing lasts forever, not even time.
“Time is an illusion.”
― Albert Einstein