Monday, November 23, 2020

Tears and Thanksgiving

I’m not a big crier these days. I was, in my youth, but, in recent years I’ve lost the facility. Yesterday I cried three times and it was an unexpected relief.

It all hit me yesterday. Unsurprisingly, it was a song that set it all in motion. From our Zoom church service came “We’ll Meet Again” as interpreted by one of our choir members from his home. It’s not a religious song, but it struck a deep and profound note as the events of this past year washed over me. If you want to hear it as performed, here’s the YouTube link. It begins at approximately 1:00 in from the beginning of the service.

If you’re a purist, you’ll want the version by Vera Lynn. Some background from Wikipedia:

We'll Meet Again" is a 1939 British song made famous by singer Vera Lynn with music and lyrics composed and written by English songwriters Ross Parker and Hughie Charles...The song is one of the most famous of the Second World War era, and resonated with soldiers going off to fight as well as their families and sweethearts.

The lyrics by themselves are quite simple. But, as the song filled my consciousness, they evoked the pain and the loss of the Coronavirus pandemic in this country and all over the world. I thought of how many people have had to suffer alone, how many never got to say goodbye. And then I felt the heat of anger at American leaders who turned away from helping and have caused the amplification of death and suffering. 

I thought of the people we’ll be missing at Thanksgiving and Christmas. I thought of my students and my coworkers that have I haven’t been able to see in person since March.

Let's say goodbye with a smile, dear
Just for a while, dear
We must part
Don't let this parting upset you
I'll not forget you, sweetheart
We'll meet again
Don't know where
Don't know when
But I know we'll meet again some sunny day
Keep smiling through
Just like you always do
'Till the blue skies drive the dark clouds far away
So will you please say hello
To the folks that I know
Tell them I won't be long
They'll be happy to know 
That as you saw me go
I was singing this song
We'll meet again
Don't know where
Don't know when
But I know we'll meet again some sunny day

A friend of mine said, “That song speaks of a responsibility and sense of duty lacking in today's world.” 

Think of all the people right here in Howard County who have fought for their right to be selfish and whose demands for what they think “they’ve got coming to them” have only served to make things worse. It didn’t have to be this bad. Here, or all around the United States. I think that’s what took me from grief to rage. Deliberate ignorance and denial steeped in self-interest has broken us. 

It didn’t have to be this way.

As I tried to process my response to the song I came across more photos from our friends’ small wedding. As ugly as the world is right now the beauty of their commitment and courage brought on happy tears. Two hands gently crossed against eachother, new rings glinting in the sun. A length of lace delicately draped across a shoulder. 

There are still worth things believing in.

Towards the end of the day I came across a post in an online Buy Nothing group that drew everything about the day into perspective:

Offer: the gift of delivering love. I work at Howard County General Hospital and know it must be super hard now that visitor restrictions are tight again. If you have a loved one in the hospital, I am more than happy to pick up cards/pictures and hand deliver them. Also, if you have a loved one in the hospital and need my kids to color get well cards, happy to do that as well! My offer stands for as long as necessary!

Yesterday I cried three times. All in all, it was probably a good thing. I will be giving thanks this week because of people like this: who share music, who commit to love, who share with their neighbors.

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