“We all must sit down someday to a banquet of consequences.” -Robert Louis Stevenson
I’ve always taken this quote to mean that all the deferred hopes, all the regrettable actions, all the secret hurts that we carry, will come back some day to haunt us. We will all have our day of reckoning.
But now I wonder. A banquet, after all, is a joyous affair. Perhaps Stevenson meant the opposite—all our hopes to which we’ve remained faithful, our long-pursued dreams, our tenacious loyalties, will finally come to fruition. After years of patient waiting on the shore, our ship will finally come in.
Indeed, that well describes my life these past few weeks. A few highlights:
• My daughter Talia, living a vibrant and courageous life abroad in Argentina for three and a half years, has not only returned to her native home (our rent-free house, to be exact!), but got herself a job teaching first grade next year at the school that has been our second family home for almost four decades! I was so happy for her South American adventure, but missed her so much—now we’ll be at staff meetings together!
• My daughter Kerala has been away on the East Coast for so long. Four at Brown University in Providence, another five in the same town launching her magazine Glimpse and then six years in Washington DC continuing the same with National Geographic and then switching to non-profit work with Ka-Boom!, building playgrounds and advocating for the important of free play in children’s lives. After some fifteen years, she finally is coming back to the West Coast, to Portland, Oregon, to be exact, where her husband Ronnie will go to chiropractic school and she’ll either continue her Ka-Boom! work long-distance or start a new venture. Now our delightful granddaughter Zadie will be a much-shorter plane ride (or long train ride) away. Hooray!!!
• Three years ago, I announced my desire to give a TED talk. Two years ago, I got a nibble for a TEDx talk. Two months ago, I got to give it. One week ago, it went up on Youtube and thanks to the spiraling word-of-mouth of Facebook, some 2300 folks have watched my 15 minute talk on “Why Music in Schools.” Amazing.
• Four years ago, I made a connection with the SF Jazz Festival and held mini-jam sessions out in the lobby before their Family Jazz Concerts. This Saturday, I’ll give a bonafide workshop to kids and parents after the Family Jazz Concert and have hopes that my group The Pentatonics will get to give such a concert (followed by the workshop) sometime next year. A long-time dream connecting my work with jazz for young children with this prestigious organization. Boom chick a boom, baby!
• Five years ago, I announced at the Orff Summer Training I direct the dream of creating an “Orff Institut West” here in San Francisco, a place where people could study this transformational teaching practice year-round. Three years ago, I proposed an Apprenticeship Program at The San Francisco School whereby teachers could study directly with myself and my colleagues Sofia Lopez-Ibor and James Harding in the actual real-life environment of a school, observing our classes with children and eventually assisting us. A much-needed and groundbreaking pilot program in the world of Orff pedagogy. My initial proposal was deferred by the school to be looked at again two years later and just last week, we accepted our first five students for this Fall.
• Some folks who I’ve long wondered about who disappeared from view showed up again (with a little help from my friends—Facebook friends, that is) and it was a delight to catch up and even settle old scores. (See posting about The Cookie Jar).
• And finally, there’s this Blog, over two years going strong and this my 500th posting. My longtime dream of having a “newspaper column” without having to go to journalism school.
And so it appears that sometimes perseverance and patience pays off. In today’s “I want everything NOW” world, it’s a good reminder that the most important things that finally come our way have been paid for by many hours, days, months and yes, years, of patience and impatience, hope and despair, gratitude and bitterness.
And so I raise a glass to all the seen and unseen helpers and invite them to join me at the banquet. None of this is about personal glory, all of this is about the vision I hold being given a nod by World. The table is spread before me and it is a most delicious feast indeed.