One day this past week I awoke in the feelings of a dream where there was no music. I had accompanied on the piano a small ensemble that would sing in the church talent show. But today, on the day of the performance, I could not find the music and the audience is exiting. I’m so darn frustrated. “Where is the damn music?” Everything is changing. The book where the music had been was now only lyrics and images, no music.
Change is constant. Transformation is something else, Richard Rohr writes: Change happens, but transformation is always a process of letting go, and living in the confusing, shadowy, transitional space for a while. Transformation is an intentional, practiced, and prayerful movement. The mystery of transformation more often happens not when something new begins, but when something old falls apart.
There is no written music for this kind of transitional space. My audience is leaving. It’s time to let go and sit in the silence, sing a cappella, or wait for a new song with some new music. Not to panic but to practice letting go and wait for something new, that’s the challenge. It’s confusing. I’m to sit and watch my audience get up and walk out? They’re the ones I receive my kudos from, my inspiration, even some of my identity. When I sit and listen, I hear a wind blowing in the trees in the backyard. Now that we can have the patio door open and the breeze is blowing through the screen door. Hooray! The wind in the trees can sound like waves on a beach.
I experienced my first white egret sighting of the spring on my walk in Busse Woods this past week. The egret has come to mean a sighting of the Holy Spirit for me. “There you are,” I said out loud when I saw her, my heart leaping a little at her sight. She daintily brought one foot out of the water she was standing in and fluffed up a couple wing feathers. There’s a new song!
My life partner is going through extreme changes. Finishing up a long career of teaching art at North Park University (finally “graduating” as he puts it), physical and emotional changes in his body and mind, preparing a show of artworks that he has worked on in collaboration with students, friends, and colleagues for Water Street studios in Batavia, Illinois. We’ve been seeing doctors and I’ve been wading through Social Security, Medicare, and financial planning. My mom turned 95-years-old last Tuesday and I drove to Michigan to be with her and my sisters over the weekend.
I helped out at our church over the year teaching a small group of teens in a confirmation class. It was good. I love being with young people. This Sunday is Confirmation Sunday when two young men from the group will be reconfirmed in their baptism, confirmed in their faith, and become members of the church. We’ll hear these young men give their statements of faith and I’m rehearsing in my heart what I want to give to them in my words. “Please show up, show us your faces, be present when your church gathers. We need to see you. Help us listen to you, for you can teach us new songs, you can guide us through change the church is going through by telling us what you need, what you’re experiencing in this changing world, what kind of church you’re searching for. Help us write some new music.”