Christmas past, ghosts too. Let’s leave them there. As the date slides into a new Gregorian chant, let’s learn the words and, more importantly, sing them together.
In church last week we sang together in a thankfully lower key. Organ music is set on tiptoe and no mistake. Most of us growl our best growls as we spin out the poetry long set down, words of hope and belief, of community, of love and of pilgrimage. We can only manage a growl when faced with choirboy elevatory requirements versus ageing vocal chords. However, last Sunday saw us with guitar and a musician to work its strings, and we could all manage all the notes. Such a relief. It thinks me.
As we stride, stumble, dash or need dragged into a new year, we need each other in order to make one strong song. What could our song be about? Shall it disparate itself into individual strains that make a cacophony of disharmony, or shall we stand and wait for each other, just stand with a hand held out and the new song tinkling across our vocal chords? I know we love to be islands, we love to be just who we are, a person pumping blood, and not just a number. But, and here’s the thing, we can both be ourself and one of a number. The number is not important. The whole is. without a considerable number of individuals, there is no whole. We are not made, nor meant to be single, even though being single is just what we are meant to be.
If we could expend less energy on trying to change everyone else and more on changing our own self, this unity of song would come naturally. If I have no desire to change you in any way, then I am easy around you. Why wouldn’t I be? I have no agenda, no issue with how you live, with who you are. All I need is your voice to swell the choir and you may well give that happily if you don’t feel judged by me. And, in letting your voice join with mine, we make a different music. We share the words and the melody but we are still singular, both of us. We can stop comparing, envying, criticising, rejecting, dismissing each other from our choirboy seat of elevation. We can forget being better than each other and learn just enough to join in the new song. In this broken world, there are no breaks too bad to repair. What damage is done, is already done. It doesn’t mean we stop working towards a healthier planet, for we must, out of respect for a world that has protected, fed and nurtured us for centuries.
Everything, they say, has a vibration from a slender of grass to a biting east wind and every vibration affects us. Like music, like song, in stories, laughter, tears and warming soups shared on a cold December day. At work, in traffic jams, at the top of the tallest pine, in the mouth of a newborn house mouse. Let us learn to listen and to hear so as not miss a single moment of such an opportunity to stand together and sing out our life.