I’m writing to you again from my parents’ house. They’ve finally been able to go on their many-times-cancelled trip to Scotland and I’m designated chicken and greenhouse looker-afterer. My sister tells me it’s a very important job because Rosa, one of my nieces, is really looking forward to grandad’s tomato plants.
I’d just started to feel a little settled and organised at the new house so right now I feel as though I don’t know whether I’m coming or going or which way is up. But it’s good to be here, not least because I don’t have heating or hot water at the new house yet so it feels like a luxury to turn on the shower or washing machine. At the new house, the kettle, a giant yellow trug bucket and my hot water bottle have become my new best friends.
Something I know about myself is that I feel freest to be myself when I’m alone. When I’m alone I sing and dance and feel much more able to explore my creativity. When I know other people are in the house, I just don’t feel that same freedom. So whilst I’ve got the house to myself I’ve been enjoying sitting down at my mum’s piano.
Even though I cry so often, at so many things, I was surprised to feel the tears rise up each time I sat down to play.
I’m not a ‘good’ player. My fingers remember some of the basic scales I learned when I was young and I know enough to play notes that sound pleasing together but I certainly wasn’t in the midst of a masterpiece.
Yet with each note the tears swelled bigger inside me and gradually turned to sobs. That familiar joy and sadness. What I could feel was the purity of the music. Something true and real and right. And I could feel my thirst for that. My need for that. My deep, powerful longing for that.
It felt like a moment of reality and clarity in an unreal, foggy world. A world full of people who have forgotten who we are, what truly matters and how we belong to the earth and to one another.
The world feels utterly absurd so much of the time. Endless advertising manipulating us into buying things we don’t need and ultimately don’t want but think we do. Conversations and interactions thick with façade because of a certain way we’re ‘supposed’ to be with one another. Soulless work we do because we need to pay our way in this system whilst our true gifts and desires lie dormant in the dusty chambers of our hearts.
Is it truly any wonder we are depressed? Is it any wonder we feel we don’t belong?
It’s not easy to be real in this unreal world. And yet you can’t go along with it either. When you feel the purity that comes through the music, or through the golden threads of sunlight glistening on the sea’s surface, or through the unfolding tomato plant, or through the song thrush gathering material for its spring nest, you can’t just forget that again and go back to the way things were. You can’t pretend you didn’t feel something that felt more real, more right, more true than everything else in your life.
I don’t know how to change a thing. I don’t know how to make this world more real. But I know from that music how thirsty I am for it. And if I’m thirsty, surely many others are thirsty too.
What we can do, maybe, is find the places and moments that quench our own thirst and then share those moments with others. When we ourselves have the courage to be more real and express what we truly think and feel and believe, some of that courage lands in the heart of another one and helps them to be more real too.
Ah, perhaps this is how things change.
Love and courage,