Suddenly life seems less sure. Less secure. Anguish and outrage runs in our streets like blood. The beginning of 2021 has seen the threats of civil war become real. The obscenity on Twitterfeed and social media alt right has moved once again out into our streets with violence. This time to clash with police in the U.S. “temple of democracy”—as some have called it. Even the police, usually the harbingers of violence, were overwhelmed. The rioters are part of a generation so numbed by their existence and the virtual reality of social media, that some claimed feeling exhilarated and “so alive” by this act of insurrection. Finally belonging to something bigger than themselves, albeit violent, there is something worth living for.
As I drive yesterday, I’m listening to Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings. The strains and dissonant harmonies soar and clarify. They open a door inside of me. I realize that none of us is guaranteed this year. And I mean, that we shall all live to see Christmas. The numbers contracting and dying of COVID in this country are mind boggling. Our systems on all fronts are overwhelmed, from healthcare to education to politics to religion. Everyone is on overload. I read this morning of multiple killings in our neighborhood in Albuquerque, the Southeast Heights. At the crime scene, police followed the blood running down the street to find clues.
Nothing. Nothing is guaranteed in 2021. The catastrophes arrayed against humanity are myriad. Human violence is tiny compared to the freight train of climate disruption upon us.
That might be a sobering thought at the start of this New Year. I usually try to be upbeat and call us to our higher and better selves, Satyagraha, that beautiful Gandhian tenet, our soul force for good. Please don’t stop reading, dear reader. I’m getting to that.
There is something comforting about coming to terms with one’s mortality. It is like a bas relief of what is real at this moment. A still-life of what is pure. What is true. What is of highest value. What is worth showing up for and sacrificing one’s comfort and security to preserve. I’m not talking about what we’ve seen in our Capital this past week. This is the sad coming of age for this country. A revealing of violent white supremacy, embedded in the founding of this country. A clear accounting of a personality cult of narcissism, love of money, fascist ideals and greed for power. Some will wake up from this nightmare. Many won’t.
So, on this day, Sunday, the “Lord’s Day”, I sit here gazing out over the diamond shining snow, fresh from last night. Aligning myself with Nature seems to be the only “real” thing these days— alongside the invisible connections of love that still bind me to seen and unseen others.
I remember a conversation with Kenneth, my spouse, many moons ago. We were talking about “provisional” existence. That sweet spot in our lives where we were being cared for and sustained by things unseen during uncertain and fearful times of our lives(at least that’s how I remember the conversation!). We were, in essence, living on the Divine welfare roll, unbeknownst to us until we came through the portal of transition or transformation. I hold on to this precious conversation. It reminds me that Providence is alive and well in every moment, caring for Her own, showing us the way, imperceptibly at times—despite the grave and great evils and darkened imaginations of our times. Our ancestors knew about this.
I leave you with the words from the most incredible music that I’ve ever had the privilege to hear or sing. I first heard it at a concert when I was falling in love with Kenneth. Morten Lauridsen, a 20th century composer, wrote these exquisite words after the death of his mother, his muse as a child who introduced him to music. In his raw state of grief, he wrote a whole work entitled, Lux Aeterna. You can listen to the entire 27:24 minute piece here. Let it lift you beyond the dregs of our existence right now, the mundane, the banality, the toxicity. Let it remind you that the Divine is indeed with us, at work through those who are willing. She is guiding us. For the loving faithful, there will be Provision. Bread. Light for the journey.
Come, Holy Spirit
And send forth from heaven
of light your ray.
Come, father of poor,
Come, giver of gifts,
Come, light of hearts.
sweet guest of soul,
In labor rest,
in heat tempering,
In grief solace.
O Light Most Blessed…
Give continuing joy.“Veni Sanctus Spiritus” from Lux Aeterna, by Morten Lauridsen, composed in 1997