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All That Jazz
Greetings lovely one,
This month has been a hodgepodge of thoughts, often contradictory, with some deep healing tears, moments of humility and gratitude, and the usual battle with ruminating. I was all over the place! I am still all over the place. I can’t quite grasp the notes that sound like the “right” music for my life. I struggle to shift the rhythm that once was but is no longer and I take comfort in the steady pulse of my beating heart, and the sound of my breath when I finally catch it, right before it escapes me into the wind.
Life is kind of like jazz, at times.
The everyday content that make up the soundtracks of our lives are full of improvisations and adaptations. And we can often find ourselves trying to contain and narrow it down, to trap and define it in our contexts, in our conceptions of time and space in order to make it make sense. Only to hear a slight deviation fading in, or an alarming trumpet interrupt our peaceful harmonies.
This song of songs invites grief into your body as your friend courageously shares his fight with cancer on livestream. The song provokes memories of times when pain and heartache had a hold on you, and you wondered if everything was in vain. It calls out the cries of people you’ve never met who are huddling together on a small bed in Texas in an effort to stay warm and dry and asks you to respond to our collective suffering. It brings to the forefront your automatic defense signal to code-switch to fit a genre that isn’t your personality while trying to clarify your authentic ministry when you’re the only one who looks like you in your classes.
And yet, this song engenders a sense of the sacred as you’re gifted the grace to hold space for other people’s healing melodies and remembering to give yourself permission to be held in sacred space too. This song reminds you of the time you got annoyed with yourself because you couldn’t shush your mind during centering prayer and instead just got up and started dancing to speak the love language you knew how to share with the Divine. It’s the kind of song that you sit down with a hot cup of Rooibos tea while delightfully sharing a conversation with your inquisitive nephew about Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Alice Coltrane, Herbie Hancock, and then introduce him to jazz fusion and the jazz-rap flow of Flying Lotus … because he wanted to know what kinds of instruments would play the music of his life. It’s the song that reminds you of the time you fell in love with the Holy One. When you heard beckoning whispers from the God of love, change, and infinite possibility again for the first time.
Yeah, sometimes the sounds of life play faster than we are ready to endure. And our minds scramble, searching for answers to our “whys” … “why me?” … “why us?” … “why here?” … “why now?”
I’m reminded of the time when I first entered a 12-step recovery room with all the mantras and stories going around. I shifted uncomfortably in my seat until the end and didn’t come back until I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. I thought I could study my way to healing. That didn’t pan out too well for me. A mentor once shared, that when recovery stays in the head you remain frozen from your nose to your toes. You can read all the texts, go to the lectures, but if you never actually do the work, you can’t grow. You don’t find your own voice that way, you don’t write your own songs or dance to the beat of your own drum. It’s messy, you have a lot of crap drafts, lyrics that are sporadic, sounds that aren’t so refined. And yet you feel the song hidden inside your heart, you learn to trust in the possibly maybe, you welcome what could be, with openness, love, curiosity, and all that jazz.
Peace, Love, and Wellness,
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What’s the Buzz? Here’s what’s happening
March 4 I’ll be joining fellow GW4W members with CREW DC for a frank conversation about supporting mental health and well-being whether returning to the office or working from home as 2021 progresses. Learn more and register here.
March 24 Save the date. Join in on an embodied prayer practice with Beacon Hill Friends House for MIDWEEK: Experiments in Faithfulness. I'd love for you to come. And don't worry, no dance experience necessary. Learn more and register here.
Tales from the blog keepers
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As a seminarian, I value being able to wrestle with my faith and practices in a setting with other people doing the same. I hope others who feel called to ministry have the opportunity to do their own discerning and formation in a space where others “get it.” I found it interesting to check out how others are imagining the future of theological education.
Muse of the month
Blerd’s the word
I’ve heard through the grapevine that Idris and Sabrina Elba are partnering with Crunchyroll for an Afrofuturistic Sci-Fi Series. The story will be set in a city where the rise of biotechnology has created an ever-widening gap between the haves and have-nots, according to Crunchyroll. Two rising stars from each side of this divide are pitted against each other in a story that will ultimately explore equality and kinship within a corrupt society. Sounds … relevant.
Until next time!
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