29 December 2013

Christmas Joy

This Christmas came to us with some issues. My daughter-in-law and grand-kids came to the first Christmas since the loss of their beloved (great)grand father. Kurt was a really nice, bright, loving man. We felt that loss again, in some ways even more, than when he died.

Sue-z and I attended the "longest Night" service. We found it a moving experience that led us to releasing our pains, and facing the road ahead. Losses happen: the service calls a person to name, and then release them. I found that possible, at least a bit. After that, for us, Christmas joy became possible.

We thought a lot about the gifts we bought, there was a very limited budget. Still, we found new dulcimer for Jamie, and a new Bodhron for Gabriel. When you give someone that sort of gift, you sort of hold your breath -- will they like them, play them?

Jamie had to wait several days for her dulcimer, we have all heard of the shipping issues. Finally, it came. Jamie loves it! We spent some time stringing it. Jamie decided to adopt a 3 string set, letting the second melody string wait until she has developed some tolerance for the wire strings. I set it up as she wanted it. "Babe," as Jamie calls her, is her instrument now. In the process, we started her birthday list. She wants her own electronic tuner, and a case. I suspect that these wishes we can fulfill. We spent hours talking about how the modal tuning relates to her violin, how to play, trying different tones and songs. Gabriel joined in and he and I drummed together. At their ages, with a bit of support, no "talent" excuse or difficult fingering gets in the way of loving the music. Like most musicians I know, I think talent is mostly myth. Practice, work, dedication, those I believe exist.

And so, came the evening when they both sat down to jam with grandpa. Gabriel reveling in the importance of the drum, his position as the leader into the song, Jamie picking out melodies on the melody course, trying out strums and finger patterns, while I played the harmonies and chords. We jammed for a solid hour! When Christal called the kids for bedtime, we agreed to play again tomorrow, and we did.

This is the way music should pass from generation to generation. Not in a dry academic setting, but with respect, fun, and joy as the music moves on, within and to new families. Jamie is fortunate that her violin teacher seems to think so too. I know, everyone knows, that the kids will become teenagers and move towards the new music of their day. And grandpa will still be playing, offering to drum for them. As the kids carefully wiped down their new musical friends, and went off to bed, I felt finally, the joy that comes from sharing a love.

I am 67. Yes, my fingers are a bit stiff now, and my voice a bit less robust. It does not matter. What matters is the music, flowing through our lives, carrying sorrow in blues, and love in ballads. The music calling us to celebrate life's special moments. The music demanding justice, crying peace, expressing love. The music celebrating lives lived, and resurrection. When it is my turn, I hope Gabriel drums me in and out of the funeral and that he and Jamie play for me. Let the music call us to celebration.

Christmas 2013 is our song for now. Name your losses, your pain, your failures, and yes you loves and joys. Then play, dance, or sing. Sing while you drive to work even to a new assignment a half-continent from here, as our intern priest now is doing. Sing, dance, play, or get a tambourine and shake.

Sing, dance, or play music of tradition, of change, of justice, of love. Joy to the world, the Lord is Come. Let heaven and nature sing, dance, or play.

1 comment:

christal said...

Love this post,Dad.

St Laika's

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