The good thing about having your foot in two worlds is it expands your options. When one world disappoints, hurts or betrays you, you can slip through the door to the other to find some solace and comfort. And so I find myself again in exile from one world and turn to Bach to swing wide the gates and enter his universe of spiritual clarity, where every note is connected to every other, everything makes sense, and everything is beautiful. And there are other gates to that world worthy of a place on the key-ring. For me, Zen meditation on my koan “How do I disappear in love?”, the jazz tune Haunted Heart, a healthy walk in the woods amongst trees that demand nothing of me, but freely accept my hug, a visit to my mother, who every day goes further into the land of dream, stepping out of this world of woe to the land where there’s “no toil, trouble or danger.” But unlike the promise of those old spirituals, the address is not 101 Future-Heaven Way, but always amongst us, here and now. The more we step into it each day, the more prepared we’ll be to change our lease when the landlord comes knocking.
So in the thick of a conflict so profound that I feel my heart physically ache, I have to thank those people who hurt me so deeply for reminding me to visit the place where I ultimately belong. There may come a time when the contents of that dirty laundry will be publicly displayed on the cyber clothesline, but who wants to really hear the next chapter of “he said, she said?” Suffice it to say that it has to do with being exiled from my own school community by some (while heartily and constantly welcomed by others— especially the 75 preschool children when I come to sing each week!).
The depth of the hurt is directly proportionate to the height of the caring—another math lesson we should teach at school. And one solution is to care less, to protect, lock away, crust over the open heart ‘cause it’s gonna hurt, baby. We all do it to lesser and greater degrees and up to a point, it’s a good idea. But the greater glory is to figure out how to care and keep the heart wide open without bleeding too much. When we close down, the world narrows and both the pain and the joy are left on the doorstep.
I know I can’t stay floating forever in the world of vibrating strings that sing me home, will have to step out back into the muck and the mire and figure out how to make it through the day with both my integrity and my health intact. Wish me luck with that.
Meanwhile, back to Bach.