Sunday, February 13, 2011
We went out last night, Mr. Moon and I, to the Mockingbird Cafe where Lon and Lis were playing and it was a quieter night than the last time we were there. We sat at a table together and we had the most wonderful dinner and the music was...well, more on that later.
Our server was May, my daughter, and she had been at the restaurant working since 9:30 a.m. and was there when we left after ten at night. I knew she was exhausted, yet she walked with dancer's posture, not a hair out of place, her body slim and wrapped in her server blacks and she bent and she lifted and she carried and she smiled and she was so beautiful and as always when I am in the restaurant when she is working, I wanted to get up and help her.
I wanted to say, "Go home, let me do this," but of course that's not how it works and I don't know beans about being a server any more, especially with computerized this and that and my god, how does she do it?
She's back there now, right now, for Sunday brunch, back in her server blacks, dancing to tables and to kitchen and to register, smoothing out this problem, taking orders, making all right in that world of those tables.
How does she do it?
She usually has Mondays and Tuesdays off but this week is Valentines and she's working tomorrow night too and I swear- she is so strong. She is grace, she is beauty, she is hard-back, strong-legs, beauty.
I remember when she was sixteen and was hit by a car on her way to school and I still, sixteen years later, can hardly bear to talk about that. Or even think.
The rush to the hospital and what would we find?
My baby. My girl. My dancing girl.
It was more than I could bear and I wished I'd never had children, I was that afraid.
Surgeries and healing and and she's gone through so much pain and I know she lives in pain. She dances in pain in her work. You'd never know it. She may dance in pain but what you see is the light she dances in and everywhere she moves, there is joy.
That's what you see.
It's been one hell of a week you know. So much going on and a lot of pain and change, some of it chosen, some of it thrust upon us most unwelcome. But such is life.
And the last set that Lon and Lis did, I sat with my eyes closed, my back to the wall and I let Lis's voice wash over me and then find its way into my body and I could feel it to my bones, my heart. I let it in.
The songs she herself has written and that she and Lon sing and I chose to let that holy music inside of me and knit up whatever was broken and tattered and you know, it did.
I can still feel it this morning. I am in no pain myself, even my knees, my legs, they feel fine and my heart feels fine or as fine as it can feel, four days before our first rehearsal, worry about this and that fluttering past me, I try to let it go, I try not to fight it, I try to focus on that sweetness that I felt last night. It was like angel voices but strong. It was light and it was love. Forgive me, but it was, and I took it with grace and I am carrying it right now.
I don't know where May gets her strength and grace. I doubt she had a second last night that she could stop and let that music wash through her. She was too busy bringing all of us whatever we wanted, food and drink and that light. That joy.
Not a hair out of place. She may be in pain but she dances through it. She delivers it to the table along with your salad. She clears away what is no longer of use. She knows what you want before you want it.
It was a night that I was reminded so very strongly of all the grace in my life. My children, living their lives, my husband whom I am so deeply in love with. His hand was right there last night whenever I wanted it. We danced one dance and sometimes he would gesture across the table and I would come and sit on his lap for a moment, put my head on his chest, be held. My two dear friends singing and playing, giving so freely of the gifts they have been given to those of us who are thirsty for what they bring.
And here- another Sunday morning and I am not in pain of any kind. The sky is without clouds, the rooster joys the air with his crow of I-Am-Rooster, the washing machine chugs, the Opera House waits for our first dress rehearsal, the birds come to the feeder, dip their heads to the seeds, throw their heads up to swallow them, the redheaded woodpecker's head a cap of scarlet, the blackbirds' wings a tribal tattoo of red and yellow slash. I have made my husband a breakfast with the dark yellow eggs our hens lay, and I have lines to go over, I have things to do, I am re-newed by last night and the friendship, the love, the service of others, my daughter and her arms around me, that music, especially the song they played last, the one they do in that video above.
I just listened to it again and there is nothing about it which is not perfect and there is my Lizzie and my Lon and the incomparable Gabe Valla.
The song is called "Time." It is haunting and it is healing.
I give it to you.
That's today's sermon. That's today's blessing. That and everything. You'll find your own as you go through your day if you pay attention to the light shed by others as they go about their work, dancing through pain, perhaps, even so, with a smile.
Take the time to note the grace that others have to offer and take it into yourself if it is offered to you and return it with the grace and light you have.
That's all we can do, you know, which is fine because there is nothing more holy than that.