Greetings and salutations from the sand, sun and surf of Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and the great island of Nantucket! So good to be with you on this Christmas Eve morning, about 7:30 a.m., EST, here in the little seaside village of Osterville. All is quiet this morning, however, I will be at a jammed packed “midnight” Mass in a few short hours, at 6 p.m., as this town has more seniors than it does teenagers and thus, makes a real midnight Mass, well, impossible for most. I sing in a choir, for the past 3.5 years, at my parish at “Our Lady of the Assumption”, a small, elegant chapel built back in 1905, the year my grandmother was born and it has served as a real Catholic church for decades now. I have sung in that dear choir, filled with wonderful people who give it all when it comes to bringing forth the holy spirit that moves us all through music, especially the voice, and brings about a sense of peace that one usually only finds if one is in quiet reflection. Quiet reflection, yes, quiet reflection. It seems hard to do these days with a 24/7 news cycle, emails, twitter, Face book, children running all over the place, presents to buy, bills to pay, constant holiday background music that is truly driving you insane, for even though you like the song, it is impossible to enjoy it while you are on the land line, texting someone, answering the door, baking a cake, fixing the brakes on your car, putting up more lights on the tree, feeding the cats and dog, vacuuming the house, doing the dishes, making Christmas cookies, answering all of those backed up emails, all while clamoring to pick up your dad at the airport for a “surprise” visit…ah, the quiet reflection of all that. That, my dear friend Nikki, is why I sing in the choir with “all of those old people”, people whom you should get to know, for it is with our elders that we find the answers, the wisdom and the KNOWLEDGE that has been passed down through the ages–wisdom passed down to YOU, and to me. You see, my significant other’s son, asked me that question the other day, asking me if I were embarrassed to be singing in the choir, no, he said, “you know what’s embarrassing? Singing in the choir.” I was insulted, at first, at his comment, thinking to myself, well, a few choice words, and then, coming to my senses, realized that this was merely a messenger, as I had encountered this before. When I was just a lad, only 7, I picked up the Viola and studied under Sikorsky in Connecticut, then, upon moving to California, began studying, at the ripe old age of 13, at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where, as we lived in Petaluma, California, about 35 miles from the city, my father would drive me every week end for my day of intense lessons with my Viola, along with the study of music theory, all while studying the greats of music we know and love today–Beethoven, Bach, Vivaldi, Hayden, Mozart, you know the big guys. I remember carrying that Viola case into my new high school in Boulder, a few years later, Fairview High School to be precise, and getting picked on relentlessly for being a “fag” for playing in the orchestra, as I practiced every day since I can remember, for 2 hours before doing my homework or playing outside with my buddies. I remember how it felt when someone tried to tell me how I should “feel” about something, something I loved so much–music. The fact that I got upset with Nikki is irrelevant and something that I should have brushed off as nonsensical ignorance. However, I had to go to the core of what bothered me so much about it, and suddenly it hit me, I was ashamed at being who I am. Never, ever be ashamed of who you really are, for by discovering that TRUTH once again, finding that voice, that we all have deep within us, and expressing it in any manner that does not hurt another human being, rather enhances their LIFE experience, is OK in my book, and, I might add, highly rewarding. For it is in GIVING this gift Acknowledgement, along with Attention and ultimately Acceptance, that we learn to love another human being, and truly see ourselves in that “other” human being– (as hard as that may seem at times) beyond their physical form and certainly beyond their political stripe. So, on this beautiful day here in little old Cape Cod, Massachusetts, I bid you and yours a fine and fair adieu, a wonderful Christmas Eve, with plenty of cheer, joy and LOVE, but most of all PEACE, for it is in finding that peace, love and joy within yourselves, that you are equipped to give it away to others. May the spirit of Christmas be upon you today, and throughout the year! PRESERVE THE WILDERNESS! Peace~M
December 24, 2010
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