Thursday, November 15, 2007
Songs In My Heart
Some of you may think I’ve been missing in action, but actually, just “away from my desk.” (It was a bit tricky in this little town I’m staying in finding Wi Fi.) I’ve been spending these past few days taking care of my father, who had a stroke many years ago and has been recently moved “home” to my brother’s house. This home used to belong to my parents. Since the move, my brother and family decided to go ahead with their plans and take a week’s trip to Hawaii for some R & R. I said I would take their place on the home front and look after dad. Since one whole side of dad’s body is paralyzed, he needs help with just about everything, and I mean everything! It gives me a whole new way to ponder the question of: what is the sound of one hand clapping?” That isn’t even the half of it.
We have had some wonderful times of remembering. I related one of my memories to him the other day about the time we lived in Japan. I was about 7 years old then. He took my two brothers and I out for an adventure and ended up buying a harmonica for each of the boys and for me a rather elaborate but useless (to me) parasol. I was in a “snit” because I thought a harmonica was far more interesting. I always thought boys had far more interesting and freeing kinds of toys and clothes and activities that they were encouraged to do. To me, wearing a dress was the most impractical garment ever created. They always got dirty and torn when you climbed rocks and trees. (You should have seen the challenges we had when we wore the full nun’s habits in “the old days.” Many a time while riding a bike my long skirt would get hopelessly caught up in the gears. I'd have to stop and actually step out of my dress to free myself. But, that is another story.)
Anyway, after he heard my thoughts about it, he carefully rolled his wheelchair over to a shelf where he kept his magic box of treasures. He took out 3 harmonicas and told me about how after his stroke; special people in his life gave him harmonicas since he could no longer play the guitar. I asked him if he ever played them and he said: “ no, all the many years of smoking pretty much trashed my lungs so I just have to keep the songs in my heart. I want you to have these when I’m gone so you can keep my songs singing.”
It just goes to show you, what ever we may think is limiting to us, like dresses and girl-type socialization customs, nun’s habits, not enough money, a less than stellar social life or even old tapes playing in our heads or coping mechanisms that keep us stuck, what is really freeing is always an inside job and the heart is where we keep the songs that keep the music of our lives alive. This is my take away gift being in this awesome soul’s presence, and the gift I share with any of you out there reading this. You and I have the Songs of the Heart to carry us through and to help us find our greatness despite our perceived limits. They are probably bubbling up in that River of Grace that flows through and flows through and flows through all our limits. I can hear your songs joining mine now. Anytime my limits keep me stuck, I can always sing the songs in my heart and find my way home....