“Something happened along the way, what used to be happy was sad. Something happened along the way and yesterday was all we had.” (Earth, Wind, and Fire – Greatest Hits, 1998)
Another rainy day – I have no desire to run and jump in puddles. I am too old for that. What will I do while I wait for the sun to return?
The rain increases in intensity. I begin to wonder if the sun will ever show up again. Three, now four days of continuous cold rain, darkness and drear – where is the sun? Where is the brightness and warmth?
Whenever I am at a loss for inspiration and engagement, hoping for an end to a period of discernible funk, I listen to music. I listen to “old” music – music that guides me on a private, personal journey down memory lane. It is an intentional journey with the anticipated destination already punched in to my psychic GPS.
Rummaging around in the past reminds me of all the things that could have been and should have been. Looking back lets me recall a time when I was certain I was the master of my own fate. Work hard, play hard, love hard, drink hard – they would all lead me on a path towards maintaining the illusion I was in control.
Earth, Wind and Fire just cued up on iTunes. “Something happened along the way and yesterday was all we had.” That’s about right, something did happen along the way. For awhile, I couldn’t imagine my future. I was frozen in place by indecision and the lack of will to change. I was without direction or purpose. Next track please! Please!
Next up on the randomized iTunes playlist came the music of Zoot Sims. His jazz sax highlighted the “down on my knees” mood I was in. Soon I understood that it wasn’t a solo sax I was hearing, but an ensemble of several individuals playing together.
Zoot Sims was good by himself, but when others played along with him, Zoot sounded even better. His jazz touched off in me all sorts of emotions and thoughts. One of those thoughts guided me to the hope found in being with others – friends and folks who were on a similar journey.
Just like the musicians who brought out the best in Zoot Sims and who challenged him to play even more complex riffs, I realized I was better as part of an ensemble. I wasn’t making music of course, but I was riffing on hope. My ensemble played with that hope and turned my words into thoughts and actions I would never have produced on my own.
Recently, on a cold, dreary, rainy day, I looked back. I remembered when I believed I could make the words and actions flow that would heal everyone. Instead of despairing of the narrative that it was all up to me, a narrative that would only lead to yesterdays being all I had, I chose, I choose, life in ensemble.
I am now surrounded by folks who live in hope, who are grabbing hold of the power and promise of hope. They seek others to join the ensemble. They seek noble purposes for their lives. They create their own kind of sunshine while they wait for the real thing.
We have all come through the rain and the darkness. While we wait for the inevitable return of the Sun, we eagerly anticipate the brightness and warmth for which we have been waiting. And while we wait, we offer our words, our prayers, and our harmony to any and all who long for hope in their lives.