Emotions abound these days. Continually slowing down to focus on what's right in front of me. Yet, for all that isn't right there, the speed at which all else gets lost in the shuffle keeps catching me by surprise. Never having been one to remember most people's birthdays, I forgot my sister's birthday last month. Last night, I showed up to a show that I had tickets for tonight. I repeatedly get plans confused as to the logistics of drop off, pick up, or meeting at such and such a place. Not a good time to rely on me to remember anything, or keep it safe.
So, where is all my brain energy going? Hmm, possibly to trying to create meals without relying on grains? This takes quite a bit of brain power, by the way. Or, maybe it's making sure my potty trainee doesn't go too long without a visit to her little loo. Also, a big distractor when in the middle of, well, anything.
Amongst it all, I have found myself narrowing my scope to just those immediate needs to protect my sanity. Namely, my kids and home. Taking on a more solitary routine has left me feeling strangely ambiguous about plans and what I allow to get scratched onto my calendar. However, there are times when we must gather. Whether to celebrate or to mourn, we need to connect our social selves with others.
Yesterday, I attended a memorial service for a student I taught years ago. My second grader, now 16, was shot in East Oakland almost two weeks ago. Oh, that beaming smile. One relative said, to know Charles, was to love him. I am thankful for my time with him and to have been included in the very special service. Music, dance, beautiful words and such honesty. The focus on celebrating his life was mixed in with all the pain. All welcomed, with raised hands, the reminder that all we have, no matter who we are or what our circumstance, is God's grace. We gathered to honor a young man, whom our hearts will always hold and to acknowledge this one thing.
Upon returning to the venue I wrongly showed up to last night, I thought about how I was once again surrounded by people sharing an experience, an emotion. The unique and mysterious quirks of Anais Mitchell's voice and lyrics left me awe inspired. With closed eyes, I noticed I was at my limit of wine as I allowed the emotion of her voice to fill me. I appreciated my fellow audience listeners for coming and sharing in this. For gathering in the name of music. A celebration of life. Or, dare I say, God's grace?